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Job well done, Horseshoe BendPosted Friday, October 3, 2008, at 8:35 AM
Chuck McNeight, Bob Barnes and the whole city of Horseshoe Bend, take a bow.
A well-deserved bow.
Chuck McNeight, PGA golf pro at The Course on Turkey Mountain, Horseshoe Bend Mayor Bob Barnes and a legion of dedicated volunteers did a superb job in bringing The Legends Tour to their fine city for a memorable late September weekend of golf, good times and money for Arkansas Children's Hospital.
But just getting 11 of the greatest female golfers of all time to Izard County was just one small step in the process of preparing one incredible weekend.
Treating them like queens once they arrived was the next step.
And Horseshoe Bend, you outdid yourself in that step.
I don't know how The Legends players are welcomed at any of their other tour stops, but I can almost guarantee you they don't get near the attention at any other city than what the good folks of Horseshoe Bend gave them.
As a matter of fact, at the awards ceremony at the end of the thrilling Pro-Am (a tournament that took two playoff holes and a chip-off to determine a winner), Legends Tour founder and CEO Jane Blalock lit up like a Christmas tree when McNeight asked her if the Tour would be back in Horseshoe Bend next year.
Blalock's answer in the affirmative was echoed with whoops and hollers of "yes" and "you bet" from the other Legends players gathered around the putting green on Turkey Mountain.
Blalock even said, "We'll try to bring some more of our friends next year, but not too many. We kind of want to keep this special place to ourselves - kind of a secret."
That's high praise from a player who has played the world's finest golf courses throughout her career.
But with the way the entire city of Horseshoe Bend looked throughout the weekend, that reaction should not be surprising.
From the way the entry road to the golf course was lined with American flags, to the way local merchants decorated up their store windows with golf themes, to the hospitality at the local restaurants and gas stations, the citizens of Horseshoe Bend really made the golfers, and even visiting fans, feel right at home.
And for that, much of the thanks goes to the countless volunteers who worked around the clock, toiling for many months, to make sure this truly was the special event it turned out to be.
Again, all I can say is, Wow!
And to top things off, Arkansas Children's Hospital received a check for $14,000 from the event.
Now I just can't wait to see what McNeight, Barnes and the amazing people of Horseshoe Bend do for an encore next year.
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Since my own high school sports career fizzled out before it really reached its zenith, I have managed to live vicariously through the student/athletes of the 16 high schools I've covered for Areawide Media since 2001. I've witnessed the highest of highs in the form of state championships. I have also seen first-hand the sting of disappointment when the ultimate prize was within reach, but still eluded the grasp of its pursuer. But through all the ups and downs associated with high school sports, my respect for the young competitors that suit up each night, along with the men and women who guide them, remains unwavering. Blog mission: With my passion for music, especially live music, running second only to my passion for sports, I'll try to devote this space to both. Especially when it concerns our region and what's happening around it. Look for commentary and features on area sports figures and musicians, along with things to get out and do in the beautiful Spring River/Ozarks area. But I'll not totally ignore the outside - I'll also hit on some national happenings in the wide worlds of sports and music.