Fatty’s golf tournament returns with costumes and heckling to raise funds for Summit Rugby | SummitDaily.com

Fatty’s golf tournament returns with costumes and heckling to raise funds for Summit Rugby

The Summit High School's Tigers girl's rugby team raises their seventh consecutitve state championship trophy after beating Forth Collins, 70-0, in 2014
Sebastian Foltz / File photo |

Fatty’s Golf Extravaganza tournament and fundraiser

What: The 10th-annual Fatty’s Golf Extravaganza to raise funds for Summit Rugby

When: Thursday, Sept. 17 with shotgun start at 10 a.m.

Where: Tournament at Breckenridge Golf Club (200 Clubhouse Drive in Breckenridge), breakfast and dinner at Fatty’s Pizzeria (106 Ridge Road in Breckenridge)

Cost: Sold out for participants, $125 to sponsor a hole

Registration begins at 9 a.m. at Breckenridge Golf Club. Busses will shuttle participants from Fatty’s to the golf course before and after the tournament. All 144 spots are sold out for participants, but anyone is welcome at the post-event silent auction. For more information on hole sponsorship or other fundraising opportunities, contact Guy Bigelow at bigelow757@comcast.net or visit summitrugby.com

Very few high schools can say that one of its sports teams is, or has ever been, ranked fifth in the nation. But then again, not ever high school has a team like the Summit girl’s rugby squad.

Coming off their seventh straight state championship and an impressive performance at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship this past summer, it’s fair to say that the high school program is a powerhouse. Yet, as exceptionally-talented as the team may be, it would never be where it is without the support of the local community. Unlike volleyball and cross-country, Summit High School rugby is a club sport, so the team must raise its own funds.

“We pay for field time, we pay for busses, coaches, insurance, travel,” said Cortlandt Pennell, a Summit Rugby organizer. “The Salt Lake City trip, by its own, will be $16,000,”

The team travels throughout the year for tournaments. Sometimes, players can’t afford to go or simply can’t afford general team costs, which is when the club will step in with help.

“We have a scholarship program to make sure they can come,” Pennell said. “We had two Latina girls, the first people in their family to go to college because of rugby. They’re both playing on Division I girl’s rugby teams right now as we speak. We support our girls after they graduate.”

The golf tourney fundraiser

The non-profit rugby club has relied on bake sales and grants to support scholarships. On Sept. 17, it adds another fundraiser: the 10th-annual Fatty’s Pizzeria Golf Extravaganza at Breckenridge Golf Club. In the past, Summit Youth Hockey, Summit Youth Lacrosse and the National Repertory Orchestra have benefitted. But now, it’s rugby’s turn.

“They’re not supported by the school; they have to fund everything they do, so this is a good organization for us to be associated with,” event organizer and long-time participant Guy Bigelow explained.

The tournament will raise between $18,000 and $20,000, 100-percent of which will go to Summit Rugby.

“It’s huge for us,” Pennell said.

Tourney with a history

Although the benefit aspect of the tournament started only ten years ago, the roots of the event stretch to 1977 when the Fatty’s Golf Tournament was played on the bustling “fairways” of downtown Breckenridge. Amid plaid pants, Hawaiian shirts and more than a few roller skates, players would hit the course conveniently spread between downtown watering holes. It was golf in name only, with whiffle balls instead of golf balls and hockey sticks or tennis racquets instead of clubs.

“It was indescribable,” Bigelow said. “We just took over the town with whiffle balls.”

Breck residents Rick Ascher laughing played in his first Fatty’s Golf Tournament when he was around 20 years old.

“Everyone was out of their mind,” he said. “You had to chip it up over the bar (at Meech’s) into a basketball hoop, take the elevator back up to Pierre’s, then chip off the deck onto the Horseshoe.”

Despite massive turnout, police approval and an article in Golf Digest, town officials put their feet down around 1987, requiring that the event be insured. That didn’t work out, and the tournament went on hiatus for nearly 20 years. It resurfaced in 2006 with a traditional golf setting at Breckenridge Golf Club. Besides that, though, very little has changed, with costumes like prison uniforms, Sammy Davis Jr. and the Ratpack as well as Donald Trump.

Heckling on the holes

The partnership with Summit Rugby this year will bring a little pitch flavor to the links. All officials and beer servers will be dressed in full rugby regalia, and a number of people from Summit Rugby will also be on-hand.

“We have three marshals this year, and they’ll all have megaphones,” Pennell said. “There’ll be a lot of heckling going on.”

A prize will be available on every hole, including $25,000 in cash for anyone who wins the hole-in-one contest. Then there’s a silent auction with 100 items, including tickets to a Broncos football game with tailgating and round-trip transportation, provided by Pennell and Bigelow.

“I’m trying to find the three most obnoxious people I can (for the trip),” the latter said.

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