It is not every day that golf balls fall from the sky over Murrieta.
The numbered balls, dropped from a Navy helicopter, were purchased by participants in Animal Friends of the Valley's 5th annual FORE...the Animals Golf Tournament-- all for the sake of the valley's furry friends. One lucky winner, whose golf ball fell closest to the hole, got to take home a 42-inch flat screen TV.
It was one of the many friendly contests golfers from around the region enjoyed when they gathered Friday at The Golf Club at Rancho California in Murrieta to support Southwest Communities Animal Shelter. The shelter, located in Wildomar, provides animal services to the cities of Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake, Wildomar and Menifee.
More than 60 participants, including golfers and support workers, took part in the tournament, event coordinator Kirsti Peffers said.
In addition to the funds raised by those golfing, there were several corporate sponsors including Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, Disneyland, Dogtopia, Brueggar Bagels, Tulips & Trophies and Extreme Signs and Graphics. Prizes included gift certificates, merchandise, baskets, a 42-inch flat screen TV and a chance to win a 2011 Buick Regal from Lake Buick/ GMC.
EVMWD was an Eagle sponsor to the event and entered a team of four golfers.
"I always like to come out for the Animal Shelter--they are an integral part of our community," said Andy Morris, an EVMWD board member.
Registration included a continental breakfast, and later a tri-tip, chicken and salad lunch on the patio.
An awards ceremony offered up prizes for the winners of longest drive, closest to the pin and others. There was also a putting green contest using a croquet mallet. The winner of the putting contest was Ken Horton of Canyon Lake, who scored a hole in one.
The helicopter was provided by Wings and Rotors Air Museum. Steve Twigg won the TV when the golf ball with his number on it fell closest to the hole. Overall, more than $600 in golf balls were sold, organizers said.
Raffle tickets for other prizes were rumored to have brought in more than $950, thanks to the hard work of the Temecula Valley Woman's Club, which sent out its animal shelter committee to help with the event.
"We just show up to be manpower for events for them," said Rhonda Lynch, a Temecula Valley Woman's Club member.
The ladies volunteer approximately 40-50 hours a month for the shelter, as well as collect food and donations for the shelter at their monthly meetings.
"TVWC is there for us, they are incredible," said Willa Bagley, director of Animal Friends of the Valleys.
The golf fees were also a source of donation for the shelter, with a small fee going back to the club. A portion of proceeds from a silent auction by Sports Things will benefit the shelter as well.
It is not certain how much was raised, however it was clear all those attending enjoyed the mild Murrieta weather and the competition among friends.
Bagley was pleased with the participation and support from the community.
"This is one of our main fundraisers that helps with programs like spaying and neutering, the senior program and the humane educator program, which reached 11,000 children last year through the shelter and schools."