The Mesquite Police and Fire & Rescue Departments had to use three big trailers to gather toys from four area golf courses this year as part of the annual Golf Fore Kids tournament. All the expenses of having 528 golfers participate in tournament, held Dec 10, were covered by the golf course owners as was the use of the CasaBlanca Event Center for lunch afterwards. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

The Mesquite Police and Fire & Rescue Departments had to use three big trailers to gather toys from four area golf courses this year as part of the annual Golf Fore Kids tournament. All the expenses of having 528 golfers participate in tournament, held Dec 10, were covered by the golf course owners as was the use of the CasaBlanca Event Center for lunch afterwards. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

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Just a few years ago, Mesquite Police Department and Fire & Rescue volunteers only needed a couple pick-up trucks to transport all the toys and gifts from gathered at local golf courses during the Golf Fore Kids tournament to the CasaBlanca Event Center.

This year they had to use three big trailers to move all the gifts golfers donated to make sure area kids have a toy from Santa Claus.

In its 11th year, the annual event filled four golf courses – Falcon Ridge, Conestoga, Canyons, and the Palms. All the expenses of having 528 golfers participate in tournament, held Dec 10, were covered by the golf course owners. The lunch afterwards, the use of the Event Center and raffle prizes were also donated by Mesquite Gaming.

“People started calling us in June this year wanting to sign up for the tournament,” Mindee West told the Mesquite Local News. “We opened registration on Oct. 1 and all our available player slots were filled by Nov. 1. That’s the fastest we have ever filled the registration. We had to turn away about 100 golfers that wanted to participate.”

West said that businesses and individuals paid for sponsorships on 142 holes spread over the four courses. “That’s about 50 more than we’ve had before,” she remarked.

Golfers were required to bring a toy or present for a child worth a minimum of $50 as their entry fee. “We had 59 scooters and 85 new bikes donated this year. We also had about 69 gift cards from Wal-Mart donated. Some of them were worth $100 instead of just $50. That’s how generous people are,” Hans Gardner, one of the volunteer workers, said.

West, Gardner, and brothers Rob and Brian Wursten, among many others worked for months with the Salvation Army and the Police and Fire Departments to make everything flow smoothly. “We love being a part of this event each year,” Police Chief Troy Tanner said. “Our officers along with the Fire Department guys look forward to gathering the toys at each golf course and moving them to the Event Center. We also received thousands of dollars through raffles that we’ll use for our Shop with a Cop program coming up. I just love how much this community works together to make it a great place to live. And, the kids love the community’s generosity.”

According to West, the toys are first used to fill the needs of the Mesquite Salvation Army Angel Tree program. The remaining toys are distributed between Littlefield/Beaver Dam and Moapa/Logandale which helps bring Christmas to another couple hundred children.

“The tournament brought in approximately $47,000 which puts the combined donation value over the last 11 years at well over $400,000. But it is not just about the numbers, it is about the smiles on the kids’ faces when they receive a special toy they might not have had if this event didn’t happen. So thank you to all who participated. To the golf courses, the tent event center, the Interact club, the local police and fire departments, the Salvation Army, all the volunteers, and especially all the golfers we say thank you,” West added.

Next year tournament registration will open Oct. 1 and golfers can register online at www.golfforekidsnv.org.