COEUR d'ALENE, Idaho - More than 140 golfers turned out and helped raise approximately $60,000 for Meals on Wheels Spokane at the 10th annual 'Cotton Classic' Charity Golf Tournament on Saturday at the Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course.
After enjoying a catered lunch from Qdoba, golfers played a scramble format amid near-perfect conditions with clear skies, temperatures in the high 80s and a light breeze.
"We've been blessed with some great weather over the years, but this year may have been the best," said Mollie Dalpae, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels Spokane. The charity no longer receives government funding and the 'Cotton Classic' is the organization's largest annual fundraiser.
The post-round open-air ceremony featured a barbeque meal from Outback Steakhouse, live music from local artist Matt Russell, bagpipers from Shadle Park High School, and a spirited live auction with Lake Coeur d'Alene providing a spectacular backdrop.
"I'm absolutely convinced that our tournament has the best post-round setting and atmosphere of any golf event in the Inland Northwest," said KHQ-TV's Dave Cotton, the tournament's founder.
At the conclusion of the evening program, golfers were treated to an 8-minute fireworks show, although it came as a surprise to organizers, even to Cotton.
"I'm told Duane Hagadone (the founder and owner of the CdA Resort) was holding a fireworks show for his grandkids," said Cotton. "His timing couldn't have been better. I'm going to have to see if he can do that every year on the first Saturday in August!"
The 'Cotton Classic' started in 2002 as a small gathering of Cotton's golfing friends and has grown into one of the Inland Northwest's most popular charity golf events.
"We try to add something special for the participants each year," said Dalpae. "For example this year for the first time, we threw a Friday night warm-up party (hosted by Sterling Savings) to show appreciation for our tournament sponsors."
"We wouldn't be anywhere near where we are today without the generous support of our sponsors including our presenting sponsor - The Kalispel Tribe of Indians and Northern Quest Resort and Casino," said Cotton. He also cited the Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course's top-notch hosting and significantly reduced greens fees as another driving force behind the event's growth.
"It will be interesting to see how big this event can become over the next ten years," said Cotton. "It's all about keeping a bare-bones charity operation alive and well, so we can keep our homebound seniors alive and well."
Meals on Wheels Spokane delivers more than 78,000 meals to homebound seniors in Spokane annually, while also serving more than 15,000 lunches to seniors able to come to Mid City Senior Center at 1222 W. 2nd in downtown Spokane. If you are interested in volunteering call 509- 456-6597.