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30 April 2008
NORMAN, Okla. –Toby Keith knows how to do things in a big way – and that includes getting his hands on an impressive list of items to auction at his annual charity golf tournament.

The superstar is gearing up for the 5th Annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic benefiting Ally's House, a non-profit organization that supports Oklahoma children with cancer and their families. The event kicks off Friday, June 6th at the Riverwind Casino, with golf the following day at Belmar Golf Club.

Since the first event in 2004, Toby and his event staff have been able to secure a truly amazing list of auction items. The list ranges from trips and concerts to items autographed by music, sports and television celebrities.

This year's list is shaping up to be impressive again, with trips such as: New York City for a taping of Saturday Night Live, Nashville for the CMA Awards, Florida for Walt Disney World, Boston to see the Patriots play and Seattle for a ride with a crew from Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch. Other trip locations include Chicago, Denver, Lake Tahoe, Savannah and Napa Valley.

"I've 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. "I've seen few of this caliber and it supports Ally's House which is one of Oklahoma's finest charities."

Sports fans will try to outbid each other on items autographed by stars like Brett Favre, Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Troy Aikman and Nolan Ryan.

Music lovers can duke it out for a suite for 16 to see John Mellencamp or autographed donations from Carrie Underwood, George Strait, Gretchen Wilson, Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry and the legendary Loretta Lynn.

There's strong support on the local level. Oklahoma City metro merchants donate generously, and each year the auction highlights packages for the bidder wanting to stay close to home. These include hotel stays, fine dining, spa gifts, jewelry and other items.

Perhaps the most exciting things in the auction are thrown in by Toby. For example, last year's "Bricktown Package" started as dinner for 20 at his local I Love This Bar And Grill restaurant and in the end it transformed into a party at Toby's House with fellow event-goers Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops and former Dallas Cowboy's head coach and former OU coach Barry Switzer agreeing to join the fun.

"Toby likes to sweeten the pot with surprise items during the live auction," said Linda Webb, Executive Director for Ally's House. "There's really no telling what he'll throw in."

Auctions have become a mainstay of fundraising for many non-profit organizations, which makes Toby Keith’s auction lineup even more impressive.

"This will be our fifth year with this event, and we're always trying to take it to the next level," the superstar said.

He's not kidding. 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 Ally's House is named.

"I have met many Oklahoma kids with cancer and Ally's House is a tremendous help to them and their families" said Bob Stoops, University of Oklahoma football coach. "Toby's event makes it all possible."


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