NORMAN, Okla. – When Toby Keith decides to raise some serious money for
charity, he gets results. Each year in preparation for the annual Toby
Keith & Friends Golf Classic benefiting Allys House, the superstar
and his staff contact famous recording artists, professional athletes,
resorts, merchants and others to request donations for the mega event.
Just as in past years, Tobys fifth annual plea for kids with cancer is
being answered with a resounding "yes."
Perhaps the most impressive supporter of all has been Ford Motor Company, for whom Keith is a spokesperson. On Saturday June 7th at Belmar Golf Course in Moore, for a fifth straight year, Ford is donating a new truck to be awarded to the golfer who wins the tournaments "closest to the pin" contest. This is one of the ways Keiths is a full cut above other charity tournaments.
Even before someone gets the truck keys, the bidding will soar at the Friday night kickoff party and auction at Riverwind Casino in Norman. The overwhelming generosity of donors has yielded a lineup of mouth-watering auctions items such as a New York City trip with tickets to Saturday Night Live, a "Fighter Pilot for a Day" package, PGA passes including air and hotel, Seattle trip to join the crew of Discovery Channels "Deadliest Catch," a trip to Chicago for a Bears/Vikings game to meet Dusty Dvorcek and Adrian Peterson, and were just getting started.
"This will be our fifth year with this event, and were always trying to take it to the next level," Keith said.
The superstar gives generously himself each year auctioning himself off as a golf teammate for the next days tournament and a trip to Last Vegas with VIP tickets for his show. This year, though, he pledges to auction off a walk-on part in the next Toby Keith video.
"Ive played in a lot of golf tournaments over the years for a variety of causes," said Steve Owens, former Oklahoma Sooner and 1969 Heisman Trophy winner. "Ive seen few of this caliber and it supports Allys House which is one of Oklahomas finest charities."
Stars of film, television, music and professional sports have sent in autographed items that range from tour jackets, jerseys, guitars, team balls and event tickets. This years star-studded list of autographed loot include items signed by 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 to name a few.
Concert tickets? They have those too: the Jonas Brothers, Jimmy Buffet, John Mellencamp and of course, Toby Keith.
Because the event raises money for Oklahoma pediatric patients through Allys House, Keith gets a major surge of support locally. Oklahoma City metro merchants donate generously, and each year the auction highlights packages for local hotel stays, fine dining, spa gifts, jewelry and other items. In fact, this year features a "Dinner for a Year" package with 52 local dining gift certificates.
To date, the Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic has raised more than $1.8 million since the 2003 death of 2-year-old Allison Webb, for which Allys House is named. Ally was the daughter of Scott Webb, one of Keith’s original bandmates.
Allys House provides financial support to Oklahoma children diagnosed with cancer and their families. The organization has helped hundreds of families since it was established in 2004.