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Summerall Classic had the best of everything

By Wally Hall

This article was published July 31, 2014 at 3:28 a.m.

About three hours before registration began a handful of people showed up Monday with energy and enthusiasm .

Chenal Country Club was practically gleaming in wait of the Pat Summerall Classic -- the annual event that is all about golf, talking sports and having fun. By the time the 30 teams had checked in, gulped down some snacks and listened to Ken Hatfield, David Bazzel, Bruce James and Matt Jones talk about football, it was easily the most fun tournament the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame has ever had.

Much of that was because of presenting sponsor Deltic Timber and Simmons Bank, but it didn't end there. It also included the great volunteers, John Bailey and Wilson Sporting Goods and Lee Fannon and Best Buy, who combined to donate 50 great prizes.

There were so many prizes that each member of the four-man team that finished last and their celebrity received a special prize that every golfer wanted -- a tennis racket.

The new owners of those tennis rackets laughed as hard as anyone, especially Josh Smith, the son of radio show host Tommy Smith of KABZ-FM, 103.7. Josh is now making his own way in the world of radio.

It also was a day when it didn't hurt to be named Richard Johnson.

Richard Johnson, president of Simmons Investments and second vice president of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, was the golf committee chair and was surrounded with a great committee, plus his team took first place in the second flight and won Wilson Nexus golf bags, which retail for $229.99 each.

The golf bag is what the first flight winner won, too, including the Richard Johnson who once played golf professionally. His team of Leo Wilcox, Jim Cooper, Chris Wewers and celebrity Scott Tabor shot a 52 in the scramble.

Tabor, the former Arkansas Razorbacks pitcher, had a hole in one, and it was on the same hole where Pat Summerall shot a hole in one a few years ago during this tournament. Those are the only two aces during the 14-year history of the tournament.

The team of Jimmy Cunningham, Brad Spikes, Jonathan Spikes, Drew Richards and Bill Curtis took second in the first flight with a 53 and received Wilson Ionix golf bags.

The second-place team in the second flight-- which consisted of Fannon, Billy Grey, Jared Fannon, Paul Burton and Ray Tucker, the former executive director of the Hall of Fame and the tournament's master of ceremonies -- also received the same prize.

Playing with Johnson, the golf tournament chair, was Reed Willett, Joe France, Mark Hendrick (noted more for his fishing than his golfing) and Ned Perme, the team's celebrity member who deserved to win something nice for providing us with outstanding weather that was dry and low in humidity.

The celebrities included a long list of former inductees, coaches and former athletes who had as much fun as anyone. Tom Kennedy even claimed that Joe Kleine wasn't only their celebrity, but their ringer. Of course, Kleine just shrugged him off, saying he was lucky.

It would be impossible to mention every volunteer and celebrity, but Southern Miss Coach Doc Sadler drove all the way from Hattiesburg, Miss., to help out.

It was Zach Vint's first event as the new director of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and he did a great job, but he gave the golf committee all the credit. Incidentally, for those groups needing a speaker this fall, Vint is available to talk about the Hall of Fame. He can be reached at (501) 663-4328.

One final thanks goes to Chenal Country Club pro John Warburton. He kept everything moving smoothly, which helped make it the most fun golf tournament in Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame history.

Sports on 07/31/2014

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