It’s an exciting time for local golf and sports fans alike as the start of the 46th Annual Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships have arrived.
On Monday night, the annual family celebration picnic for players, coaches, parents, and tourney officials took place at the Knights of Columbus Par 3 Golf Course.
Tourney play will begin at Westview bright and early Tuesday morning at 6:30 am.
That’s when the young ladies in the 14 to 15 year old age group will tee it up in division 6G.
Monday during the practice rounds at Westview, players had an opportunity to hit the fairways with their parents and coaches and get the feel of the course and the putting green’s.
Registration started Sunday at 12 noon and ran until 6 pm. Golfers had a chance today to register for the tourney from 9 am to 5 pm.
Little People’s founder and Executive Director Nan Ryan enters her 46th year at the helm of this stellar event with high expectations once again as some of the premier youth golfer’s from across the country and around the globe showcase their talents in the Gem City.
For Nan it’s about watching these young golfers develop both their skills and special friendships on the greens that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Ryan said, “New Years Eve I guess today and tomorrow’s the big party.
It’s when the kids really get serious and they’re out there to, I think a lot of them just to have a good time, meet new friends, but really play some good golf and we’ve got some really excellent golfers here.”
Also of note, 14 year old Jack Hilgenberg traveled all the way from Sioux Falls, South Dakota with the Sanford Power Golf Academy to compete in his first Little People’s this week.
No matter how Hilgenberg plays this week though he’ll be leaving with an award as he received the coveted Spirit of Giving Award Monday night.
Hilgenberg has been helping collecting food donations ever since the fourth grade when he asked for food donations instead of Halloween candy.
In total Hilgenberg estimates with the help of his family and friends he’s raised 1,300 pounds worth of food.
Hilgenberg knew from a young age the impact he wanted to make on the world.
Hilgenberg said, “”When you’re in the fifth grade and really throughout your whole life you’ll always be able to have candy, but there’s some people out there that don’t get food.
And the fact that they don’t get that, it just doesn’t seem right to me and I wanted to do something about that.”