Golf tournament is a success

The skies may have been gray for most of Wednesday, but towards the end of the ninth Celebrity Golf Classic in memory of Jeff Showalter at Belmont Hills Country Club, the clouds parted and let some rays of sunshine brighten up the event.

I’m not sure, but those rays of sunshine could have been the nine deceased members and volunteers of the annual event looking down on everyone, and thanking them for their unselfish efforts of goodwill. Those nine include Tom Dowler, Bob Yoblinski, Marv Berchet, Sean Elerick, Eric Brooks, Bob Morgan, Don Bibey, Alan Klein and The Times Leader’s own Rich “Hoot” Gibson.

A moment of silence was held following the post-tournament dinner and prior to the awards ceremony.

Presented by the Ohio Valley Christian Soldiers, the event is designed to raise both awareness and financial support for ongoing programs of the OVCS.

“This was a great afternoon,” classic organizer Ted Showalter said. “The temperature was just right. The sun’s coming out now. We couldn’t have been more blessed.”

Showalter also said the event would not be possible without the support of the generous sponsors.

“The sponsors have been great,” he allowed. “The celebrities. The players. The volunteers. Just another great day.”

For the third year in a row, the Pike Island Dental team of Chuck Dematte, John Becca, Eric Coe and Gary Schrickel, along with former Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker Marv Kellum, captured the top prize in the ‘A’ flight.

The fivesome carded an 18-under-par 53, which was a mere one shot ahead of Team Cincinnati, which featured former New York Yankees and San Diego Padres pitcher Todd Erdos, of Meadville, Pa. Whiteside II took third place with Buckeye North alum and former Montreal Expo and Los Angeles Dodgers farmhand Ricky Clelland.

In the ‘B’ flight, the team Ohio/West Virginia Excavating fivesome of Rico Simonetti, Dale Lewis, Dan Boltz, Glen Orndorff and former NFL linebacker Devon McDonald fired a 56, which was one stroke better than the a pair of teams that carded 57s. Costanzo and Associates earned second place over the Linsly School by a comparison of scorecards.

One highlight of the star-studded event was a guest appearance by Ohio Gov. John Kasich. He was seen shaking hands and posing for numerous photos during his 15-20 minute stay.

The McKees Rock, Pa., native and 1974 The Ohio State University graduate was also overheard telling sports stories of his days in Columbus.

Kasich was in the Ohio Valley for a couple of meetings.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the job that Mark Thomas and his staff from The Ye Olde Alpha did in preparing the delicious steak and chicken dinner that all golfers were treated to following their day on the links.

North can be reached at