I am always anxious to hear the first announcement and dates of this prestigious and heartwarming annual event, and just as anxious to hear the outcome. The 15th Annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic raised more than $1,090,000 earlier this month at Belmar Golf Club and Riverwind Casino.
Among the top five totals in the event’s history, this year’s funds will continue the good work of OK Kids Korral, which provides a cost-free home to children and families seeking treatment at Oklahoma City area hospitals.
The event opened with a Friday night gala featuring performances by Mac McAnally (“All These Years”), Paul Overstreet (“When You Say Nothing At All”), Jamey Johnson (“Give It Away”), Scotty Emerick, and Red Steagall. All the artists joined a rousing rendition of Keith’s “Weed With Willie.” Restless Heart concluded the night of entertainment, taking the stage for a full set.
As for the evening’s live and silent auctions, the latest “Denim & Diamonds” themed gathering set a new mark. For the first time, each of the top three live auction items was awarded to both top two bidders.
Top Five Live Auction Items
Hunting trip with Navy SEALS ($55,000 x 2)
Golfing with John Daly ($37,500 x 2)
Real Housewives experience with Vicki Gunvalson ($26,000 x 2)
“American Soldier” original lyrics and art ($40,000)
Elvis Presley autographed guitar ($32,000)
Top Five Silent Auction Items
Tickets, dinner, limo to NBA’s Oklahoma Thunder ($10,000)
Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer autographed Masters piece ($5,500)
Walking Dead Lucille bat autographed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan ($5,500)
Boston Red Sox experience ($4,700)
Star Wars replica Stormtrooper autographed by cast ($4,000)
Attendees included Olympic gold medalists Mike Eruzione (1980 hockey team) and Bart Conner (gymnast), basketball great Nancy Lieberman and OU women’s head coach Sherri Coale, NFL greats Ray Childress (Houston Oilers) and Walt Garrison (Dallas Cowboys), former MLB pitchers Kevin Gross and Brad Penny, actor/musician/poet Red Steagall and actor Buck Taylor (Gunsmoke).
All in, Toby Keith & Friends events have raised $12.4 million to build and operate OK Kids Korral. The families and children appreciate all these efforts more than we can ever realize.