By Mike Deak
WARSAW – The Sweet Sassy Golf Classic just keeps evolving.
What started as a way to have Tippecanoe Valley’s family and friends come together to honor the late Scott Bibler, the golf fundraiser has now become an annual celebration of the Valley community’s loved ones that have passed on.
Starting in 2016 at Rozella Ford Golf Club, the event celebrated its fifth year on Saturday. While some of the big names in the Valley athletic and support communities were on hand, the golf also brought out community members from places like Warsaw and Rochester. Sometimes considered bitter athletic rivals. But in the game of life, all comes together for a bigger purpose.
“I think when you look at this, the core of this event is Valley, but Scott touched a lot of people,” stated event organizer Leslie Brouyette in between stops in and around the Rozella clubhouse Saturday afternoon. “When we tell the story of this, we wear the shirts and people always ask about it. I had a guy from Goshen ask me about it, he had never heard of the golf outing, but he knew Bibs.
“The word is getting around. We were sold out over a month in advance this year. Considering what all has been going on with COVID, that’s pretty amazing.”
The 2020 version of the Sweet Sassy once again raised money for Bibler’s Billfold, a fund created to help Valley students who need financial help for random needs like sports shoes, or lunch money, or small stop gaps a family may not be able to immediately afford to keep a child moving. Where the event has evolved is the addition of the memories of Jeff Shriver, Nick Phillips, Jerry Zolman and Duane Hackworth.
Shriver, the longtime teacher and coach at Valley, passed away in December and became one of four passings within weeks of one another. Zolman’s team won the 2019 Sassy tournament championship, and all four of the late men had participated in at least one Sassy event.
As a new wrinkle to the golf event, organizers expanded the Splash For Cash, which had golfers shooting off the 10th tee downhill to a small pool. Anyone landing the shot won a prize pack, to which Chrissy Mills noted at least one morning golfer had made the roughly 50-yard shot.
Charities included in the Splash For Cash were Bibs Billford for Zolman, the Jeffrey Smith Shriver Memorial Fund for Shriver, the Henry Township Fire Department for Hackworth and Magical Meadows for Phillips.
“We’ve had a lot of special people in our community that we’ve lost,” Brouyette said. “We lost Shriver, Hack, super special guy that everyone knew. And Jerry passed, another big Valley guy who everyone knew and then throw in Nick, and we decided we needed to do something for all these guys.
“We decided in addition to the Bibs Billfold, we would honor their charities as well. It’s the least we could do.”
Brouyette reported Sunday evening the event saw 60 teams equaling 240 golfers and over 30 volunteers to make the event the biggest yet. She noted the event is expected to bring in over $20,000 when the final numbers are figured. The Splash For Cash aspect raised $2,800 to be evenly distributed to the four charities.
Overall winners was Team Shriver with a 53, a tiebreaker winner over Team Trippiedi.
Closest to the pin on No. 2 was Todd Andrews, No. 5 was Jeffrey Conrad and No. 15 was Tucker Carlile.
Longest drive on No. 3 and No. 14 both went to Bryce Zimpleman and women’s longest drive on No. 14 was Katrina White.
The 50/50 winner was Andy Hughes.