A group of friends blowing off a little steam on the links before the holidays has morphed into one of the largest fundraisers for cancer research in North Texas.
Flower Mound residents Mark Behrens, Sheryl Pflaum and Pat Cook co-chair an annual charity golf tournament that donates all of its proceeds to this very worthy cause.
In its 12th year of existence, the annual Turkey Shootout held at Bridlewood Golf Course each year supports the American Cancer Society, and Behrens said the tournament’s genesis was an unassuming one.
“In 2000, the three of us and a couple other co-workers got together to golf the day before Thanksgiving and relax before families came into town for the activities of the weekend,” Behrens said. “We had eight golfers that day and half heartedly said ‘let’s do it again next year. We could call it the 2nd annual Turkey Shootout.’
“The next year, we charged some extra money above the green fee and used that money for some prizes and tournament sweatshirts. We designed a logo incorporating a turkey on a golf course. That year, we had a few more golfers, and by the third year, it started to expand with previous golfers bringing out family and friends.”
What started with eight golfers turned into 48 within five years, and today, the tournament fields nearly 100 golfers.
“Due to the response of this tournament, the players and sponsorships, and the businesses that donate goods and services, we are now the second largest independent fundraiser for the American Cancer Society in North Texas,” Behrens said.
Behrens said the tournament has become a great passion for him, Pflaum and Cook, as well.
“All three of our families have been affected by cancer in one form or another, as do most people we know or talk with, and it is too prevalent,” Behrens said. “We used something that was starting to gain traction and really turned it into a worthwhile cause.”
Behrens said he would like for a couple of things to come from the golf tournament.
“I’d like to see an ongoing awareness of how much cancer affects us every day and that we raise awareness that this is an ongoing battle,” Behrens said. “We’d like to think that the contributions of everyone involved will make a difference in the area of research, providing support to individuals and families; and that someday, cures will be found.
“We’d like to be able to do more. By increasing the awareness, hopefully we get more golfers to participate, more businesses to support us and we generate a larger donation for the American Cancer Society.”
The tournament is Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 8 a.m. at Bridlewood Golf Course.
Registration and breakfast are at 7 a.m. and the tournament will finish with lunch and a raffle.
Individuals or businesses who would like to support the event by donating items for the golfers registration bags, raffles or silent auction, may contact Mark Behrens at 214-674-5480 or visit http://2012turkeyshootout.eventbrite.com to register.