More than 200 golfers turned out on behalf of the beef industry on the tenth anniversary of the Beef Bucks Golf Challenge-the largest number ever for the major fundraising event of Beef Bucks, the South Dakota-based volunteer-run beef promotion organization.
Sporting 52 teams, this year's Beef Bucks Golf Challenge on August 17 at the Brandon Municipal Golf Course brought together beef producers, beef industry reps, and beef- supporting businesses, consumers and organizations for a day of golf, ending with a grilled steak dinner and auction.
This event has gotten bigger than we ever thought it would, says JoAnne Hillman, president of the Beef Bucks volunteer board and one of the Golf Challenge organizers. She explains that the golf tournament started in 2002 with about 20 teams. The growth and popularity of the Beef Bucks Golf Challenge shows what a small group of volunteers who believe in the beef industry can do. She explains that some team members this year drove more than 10 hours, or flew in from out of state to participate.
Dollars raised through the golf tournament are used to fund scholarships for college or vocational school-bound young people with a background in the beef industry. Beef Bucks also promotes beef through a number of other promotional events throughout the year. Its main focus, however, is the sale of pre-paid checks and or VISA¨ debit cards for purchasing beef at restaurants or grocery stores. Since its start in 1997, the organization has sold more than $1 million in Beef Bucks. This past year, Beef Bucks was also featured as one of the prizes on the popular Wheel of Fortune television show. All proceeds from Beef Bucks sales and the Golf Challenge are directed back into the program. The Beef Bucks organization receives no beef checkoff dollars.
Hillman says the Golf Challenge brings in thousands of dollars each year for the organization's beef promotion efforts, and she says the continued and loyal support from businesses and people in the industry make it possible. We depend on our industry people for our successful promotions, she explains.
For example, for the past several years, National Beef¨, based in Kansas City, MO, and one of the largest beef processors, has donated the hundreds of 16 oz. rib eye steaks for the Golf Challenge dinner. Fenske Cattle Company, Woonsocket, SD, is a continual sponsor of the tournament's Putting Contest. And Prostrollo's Auto Mall in Madison, SD, has sponsored the Hole-in-One Competition for many years. A large number of other businesses and individuals sponsor teams, prizes and auction items to make the event a huge success, says Hillman, who insists, We can't thank them enough.
This year, the top dollar-generating auction item was a Lincoln commemorative rifle donated by the Henry Rifle Company and purchased by Daniel Holt from Fayetteville, AK. Other auction items included a basketball autographed by South Dakota's-own Mike Miller of the Miami Heat, and a limited edition Bert Blyleven-signed Hall of Fame Induction print from the Minnesota Twins.
The first-place winning teams of the Beef Bucks Golf Challenge Championship Flight were: first place Pharmco Sod Busters; second place Yankton Livestock; and third place J & R Distributing. First Flight winning teams: first place Sioux Falls Regional Livestock; second place Wilson Trailer Company; and third place Avera McKennan. Second Flight winning teams: first place Montross (Bob) Team #2; second place First Premier Bank; and third place Rave Sales. Third Flight winning teams: first place JBS 5 Rivers; second place Steffensen Crop Insurance; and third place SDSU Ag & Bio Science. Winning teams receive a variety of prizes. The winner of Putting Contest, and $250 in Beef Bucks, was Ryan Schoenfelder of De Smet.
To find locations that sell Beef Bucks, go to beefbucks.org. To order Beef Bucks by phone, call 1-888-640-MEAT.