Monday mornings are infamous for being slow and dreaded, but the Monday morning of our golf tournament couldn’t have been any more different. Seeing the bright smiles of new friends and the familiar faces of old friends was the perfect start to the day. We are incredibly fortunate to have been joined by BuckedUp, our tournament’s Title Sponsor, and for all the time and effort they gave to help make this event happen. We are beyond grateful to have their friendship and support. 

A crisp, cool breeze and the loud buzz of chatter filled the morning air as golfers waited in line at the Lost Bread food truck to pick up their breakfast: a choice between french toast or a breakfast sandwich. Which would you choose? Sweet or savory?

After golfers spent a little time at the driving range to warm up, BuckedUp fired up their helicopter for the ball drop. Golfers were given the option of buying golf balls for a chance to win a five-day, six-night stay in beautiful Huntsville, Utah, if their ball made it into the hole after being dropped from a helicopter. Their bright red helicopter lifted from the ground and darted to the hole in front of us. The pilot hovered over the hole while handfuls of golf balls dropped out of the helicopter door. There were so many golf balls that we shouldn’t have been surprised it would happen, but a ball made it! We announced the lucky winner at lunch. Keep reading to see who won!

After the ball drop, we gathered for a brief message from our president, Brett Caywood, about the tournament’s impact on those we serve in India and thanked the golfers for their participation and support. From an outside perspective, our tournament looks like a gathering of people filling a day out of the office with friendly competition and good food, but those involved know it is much more than that.

After the message and a quick prayer of gratitude, golfers broke out into their foursomes, and to their designated holes they went! Red Ledges Golf Course is in Heber, Utah, where mornings are chilly (even in June) but not too chilly for ice cream! SubZero Nitrogen Ice Cream set up shop alongside the course and served sweet snacks to golfers as they played through the course. SubZero has joined us for our last few tournaments, and their participation has been a real treat!

Driving through the course, you could hear the smacks of clubs hitting golf balls, teasing and laughter between friends, and the quiet humming of the drink carts that brought golfers complimentary refreshments and pick-me-ups.

While everyone finished their game on the green, the finishing touches on lunch were made by BamBam’s BBQ. A steady stream of golfers made their way under the great white tent and filled their plates with some of the best barbeque you’ll find in Utah. Once everyone had the chance to grab a seat and dig into their lunch, Brett took to the stage at the front of the tent to welcome everyone back and recognize our guests: BYU football Head Coach Kalani Sitake, U of U football Head Coach Kyle Whittingham, BYU Wide Receiver Coach Fesi Sitake former NFL athletes Robbie Bosco, Chad Lewis, David Nixon, and Lee Johnson. 

We were delighted to hear from Kalani and Kyle as they shared inspirational experiences of loss and triumph both on and off the field. Despite the rivalry between their respective universities, these two men share an incredible friendship and respect. They even talked about being in the same foursome next year. Who wouldn’t love to see that? We can’t possibly thank them enough for the humble strength they shared with every person under that tent.

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David Nixon then took to the stage again to help announce the winners of generously donated prizes.

Jeff Gardner, Mitch Jones, and Steve Mortenson received a $250 Black Clover gift card for winning First Place Foursome.

Preston Wooley, Ryan Gardner, Jono Gardner, and Lee Johnson received a Trailform backpack and a Thread Wallet for winning Second Place Foursome. 

Chandler Treu, Jaxon Treu, Matt Long, and Josh Redd received a $100 Rhone gift card and Thread wallet for winning Third Place Foursome. 

Jono Gardner received a BYU Football package that included two game tickets and a delicious meal at Club 22 for winning Closest to the Pin. 

Grant McCarty received two Cobalt 55-quart BlueCoolers for winning Men’s Longest Drive.

Abby Studdert received a basket overflowing with DoTerra product for Women’s Longest Drive. 

Preston Woottenn received a five-night, six-day vacation to Deer Valley for winning the scratch card game. 

The following three prizes were included in this year’s raffle and taken home by three lucky winners:

Traeger grill + Traeger accessories

Jazz signed basketball + two Cobalt BlueCoolers

Utes basket + two Cobalt BlueCoolers

Last but certainly not least, Chandler Treu was the winner of the ball drop!!

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For the first time in Rising Star Outreach history, we awarded a Shawn Bradley Impact Award. Shawn Bradley, former NBA player and long-time Rising Star friend, dedicated much of his time and energy to the people we serve in India affected by leprosy. He has been the driving force behind our golf tournaments since the beginning, inspiring our first tournaments, the Shawn Bradley Golf Invitationals. This award was given to Ron and Joyce Hanson, who have dedicated years of their lives to our mission, and continue to be very involved on our board.

By coming together and through generous support, we raised $77,629.00* and one $10,000 classroom sponsorship! *After expenses and in-kind donations were taken into consideration.

These donations will uplift lives affected by leprosy and its harsh stigma by providing opportunities and resources such as tuition, meals on campus, tutoring, and so much more! This day truly is about more than just a game of golf. Our annual golf tournaments allow us to elevate the voices of people who have been hushed and ignored for centuries.

By sponsoring and attending this event, our supporters have impacted these communities for generations to come. Nothing makes a day on the green better than knowing the world will be a better place because of it. 

We can’t wait to see you next year! 

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