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Ladies golf tournament on Sept. 8 to benefit Someplace Safe

By Heidi Sunderman

Staff Writer

Looking for a good reason to hit the course and give that 1-wood a few more swings? A new event this year, the Perham Ladies Golf Charity Event will have teams of local women swinging their clubs to help raise money for Someplace Safe in East Otter Tail County.

Organized by Connie Mort and Bridgit Pankonin, co-chairs of the women's afternoon golf league in Perham, the first annual event will take place on Saturday, September 8. Also involved in the event is Kris Warhol, Otter Tail Intervention Advocate with Someplace Safe.

Warhol will be the guest speaker at the golf event, which will begin with registration and lunch at 11:00 a.m. At noon, all of the golfers will be sent out to the course to compete in the tournament. Dessert will be served during the awards portion of the day, after everyone has finished golfing. The event is scheduled to conclude around 5 - 5:30 in the evening.

An affordable $50 entry fee has been set, which includes golf, lunch, and a cart rental. The entry fee will be used to provide prizes for the golfers. Several prizes are planned, including a golf package for the Park Rapids area.

To date, eight teams are registered for the charity event, for a total of 32 golfers. A minimum of 60 golfers is the goal set by the planning committee. "If we had 100 people sign up, I'd be just thrilled," said Connie Mort.

Golfers may register at the actual event, but pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Women are requested to register before Tuesday, September 4.

The planning crew is seeking more sponsors for the event. These sponsors will help raise funds for Someplace Safe. All of the money raised will stay in East Otter Tail County, said Warhol. She explained how the proceeds will not just benefit people within the city of Perham, but families throughout this side of the county.

"I would like to see two hole sponsors per hole," Mort said, detailing how the names of the sponsors will be listed on the ladies tee boxes at the sponsored holes. The cost is $100 per sponsorship, with 26 sponsors already signed up. With a target number of 36 sponsors, there's still plenty of room for interested parties to sign up and support this cause.

The reason the women chose Someplace Safe as their cause was largely based on the extreme financial needs the shelter has. Over 100 victims were helped in 2007 alone. Yet, the county provides zero funding for the shelter.

"Someplace Safe has had an office in Perham for twelve years," explained Warhol. "The last three years we have been running on reserves."

The Someplace Safe outreach offices in Fergus Falls and Perham help local women and children with criminal justice intervention, and provide assistance to victims of general crimes, domestic violence, and sexual assault.

This victim's advocacy program establishes a setting for "safe exchanges" where parents can use Someplace Safe as a secure place to exchange custody of their children. Support groups are also held for women.

With this year's event already looking to be a great success, Mort says they plan on making the Perham Ladies Golf Charity Event an annual fundraiser. Each year, the event will be held the Saturday after Labor Day.

"I'm very pleased with how much support we've received from the community so far," said Mort. "Everyone has been great about donating items."

Bridgit Pankonin expressed her enthusiasm for the upcoming event, commenting on the unique nature of the fundraiser. "There are not many golf tournaments strictly for women," she said, pleased that the golf event will be bringing some much needed assistance to such a vital local organization.