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Annual Chili Open hoping for warm reception from golfers

1/23/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Clinton Hummel, of Barberton, is shown after he takes a swing at last year’s Wayne Homes Chili Open.
Photo: Krista Galloway
BATH — Polar bear golfers are being invited to take a swing at supporting the Akron Rotary Camp for Children With Special Needs Feb. 1 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hale Farm & Village, 2686 Oak Hill Road.

The annual Wayne Homes Chili Open golf classic offers a unique golfing experience and an opportunity to help more than 1,700 children and adults with disabilities attend the Akron Rotary Camp this year, according to Rotary Camp Executive Director Dan Reynolds.

Reynolds said campers participate in a variety of programs and activities designed to teach important life skills. Campers enjoy games, campfire songs, canoeing, swimming, fishing and more. Many of the activities are designed with the campers’ sensory needs in mind, according to camp officials.

Last year, the event raised $153,000 to send children to camp, and this year, the goal is $200,000.

“Proceeds from the Chili Open help us keep all programs affordable to everyone,” said Reynolds. “Furthermore, we are committed to never turning anyone away for an inability to pay.

“One great thing about the Chili Open is the excitement the unpredictable weather brings this time of year. Even with rain, snow and cold temperatures, people come out to support a great cause. Not only does the event create opportunities for children to attend camp, it also offers a one-of-a-kind experience for golfers feeling the itch, with courses closed for the season.”

The grounds of Hale Farm will be transformed into four golf courses with nine holes each for the Chili Open, according to event organizers. Hole distances will range from 65 to 125 yards. Golfers will be challenged to drive shots across the frozen ground and putt balls laden with ice. Golfers can try their hand at winning a variety of awards, including closest-to-the pin and hole-in-one.

Afterward, participants are invited to the Wayne Homes Chili Open warm-up party to be held inside the banquet hall of Hale Farm. Golfers will be treated to all-you-can-eat Whitey’s Chili and can enjoy card games and sharing stories about their best shots of the day on the course, according to event organizers.

Raffle prizes also will be available at the event. Tickets cost $20 each, with the draw taking place at the Chili Open.

The prizes include: first prize, a 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LS from the VanDevere Bunch; second, a 55-inch Edge LG LED Smart TV donated by MAS Inc.; third, four diamond box seats and behind-the-scenes tour to a Cleveland Indians games, courtesy of Fox Sports Ohio/SportsTime Ohio; and fourth, two weekly clubhouse badges, valet parking and a behind-the-scenes tour of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.

The cost to participate as a golfer is $50, with $30 tax deductible, and teams of four are invited to register for $200. Golfers must bring their own clubs and bright-colored balls, and should dress for the weather.

To register for golfing, to buy a raffle ticket or to make a donation to the Wayne Homes Chili Open, visit www.chiliopen.net.

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