A Day At “The Ranch”
Everywhere you turned you bumped into Ring of Fame players like Steve Atwater, Dennis Smith, Randy Gradishar and Rod Smith or beloved former coach Red Miller. The weather was outstanding, the course was beautiful, the fans were excited and the celebrity golfers were “pedestrian at best,” said former Broncos running back Reggie Rivers.
“If you came into this tournament thinking that the Alumni players were going to carry your team, you were in for a disappointment,” Rivers said.
Fortunately, the purpose of the tournament wasn’t to see how well former athletes could swing a club. The purpose was to give the alumni the opportunity to reconnect with each other, to let the fans mingle with and interact with some of their favorite Broncos in history and to allow the Alumni Association continue its mission of raising money for Colorado charities.
On that scorecard, the Broncos Alumni Golf Tournament got all A’s.
“This is our signature event each year,” said former Bronco Odell Barry, President of Denver Broncos Alumni Charities. “Throughout the day, I heard Alumni saying how much fun they were having, and how they couldn’t wait to return for the tournament next year. And I heard from our beneficiaries how appreciative they were of everyone coming together to raise money for their charities. This truly was a win for everyone involved.”
Said former Broncos tight end Ron Egloff: “How could you not come out to this event if you’re a Broncos Alum and you’re local? Hanging out with my friends and supporting charities, this is what it’s all about.”
The non-profit beneficiaries of this year’s golf tournament are the Denver Police Activities League (PAL), Sungate Kids (Abused children) and Community Athletic Sports Academy (C.A.S.A.). There were large groups of kids from each of these organizations out visiting with the players, getting autographs and photos, receiving mentoring from Billy Thompson and Larry Brunson, and having their pictures taken with Ambassador and designated putter, Gradishar.
“In Colorado, once you’re a Bronco, you’re always a Bronco,” said Broncos Alumni Association President Le-Lo Lang. “It’s a brand that we wear with pride, and the Alumni Association gives us a platform to leverage our position in the community to raise money for worthy charities. Today was awesome!”
Long Drive Pro, Vince Curliuni, with the help of the Barrelman’s widow, Becky Mckernan, raised more than $5,000 by launching drives an incredible 380 yards down the fairway. Every time Curliuni hit a shot, the incredible impact sounded like Atwater laying out Christian Okoye, the famed Nigerian Nightmare.
Former Broncos offensive lineman Dave Studdard’s group finished with a low round of 52 to win the overall event.
“It was certainly suspicious that Studdard’s group was last to turn in its scorecard,” said Rivers. “They show up last AND with the lowest score. I’m not sure if we were outplayed, or just pencil whipped.”
Broncos Cheerleaders Emily and Tony G. provided an attractive welcoming committee, but the highlight of Monday’s festivities was seeing the great Dennis Smith wearing the Barrelman’s old Barrel. Smith said he was a huge fan of the late Tim McKernan, who wore that Barrel to Broncos games in the freezing cold.
Said Smith, “I’m keeping it real. I’m not wearing anything under this barrel.”
All of the other alumni, took three steps away from him.
A very special thanks to the sponsors 7-11, Coca-Cola, Destiny Medical Supply, Dodge Sign Company, 850 KOA, Bud Light, Elkus Sisson & Rosenstein and 103.5 The FOX, and Ramada Plaza.