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16 June 2008

(NORMAN, Okla.) The fifth annual Toby Keith & Friends Celebrity Golf Classic raised a record-setting $709,000 for Allys House, a local nonprofit that helps children with cancer and their families. The total bested last years $500,000, pushing the five-year total past $2.3 million.

"I knew we could make a difference with Allys House, but it really is even bigger than I’d hoped," Keith says. "We’ve helped a ton of families...and were proud that we have never had to turn away an Oklahoma family that needs help."

As in past years, many participants went home with some one-of-a-kind events on their calendars. The June 6-7 gathering brought 750 celebrities and guests together for golfing, music and a silent auction of superstar proportions. Top auction items this year included dinner with the events namesake, Toby Keith, with two selling for $35,000 each. A Deadliest Catch package brought $27,500 for a chance to ride with Captain Sig and the Northwestern crew from the hit Discovery Channel crab fishing series.

Other top items include a cameo spot in an upcoming Toby Keith music video that sold for $25,000, and tickets to a Las Vegas Keith performance with meet and greet passes, which went for $12,000. Autographed memorabilia at the auction included items from Tiger Woods, George Strait, Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson, LeBron James, Carrie Underwood, Andre Agassi, Tony Stewart, Peyton Manning, Loretta Lynn, Troy Aikman, Nolan Ryan and Tom Hanks, among others.

Attendee Steve Payne drove away in a brand new Ford Truck after winning a closest-to-the-pin contest.

In addition to the auction, attendees were treated to great music and food at the kickoff party, and world class golf at the Belmar Golf Course in Moore, OK. All funds go directly to Allys House, the Norman-based organization named for Allison Webb, the daughter of original Toby Keith band member Scott Webb. Ally died at age two after losing a battle with kidney cancer.

"Ally fought her cancer about a year, and she wanted at least one parent with her all the time and Scott and Linda both work," Keith says, explaining the inspiration behind Allys House. "A year is a long time juggle that kind of life and thats what happens time and again. Family needs vary from medical and pharmacy bills to rent and utility payments. They also have expenses for lodging, food, health insurance premiums or deductibles, and – right now especially – high fuel costs. Allys House helps pay different bills based on what that family needs."

Hundreds of Oklahoma families have already benefited from the care and support given by Allys House.


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