(NORMAN, Okla.) Lucky isn't the half of it. The 13th Annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic was nicknamed "Lucky 13" by its namesake, and a grand fundraising total of $1.175 million keeps him true to his word. The total was cause for celebration for many, but most especially kids like Buddy, who has been living at The Toby Keith's Foundation's OK Kids Korral for the last eight months.
Held June 3-4 in Toby's hometown, the event opened with a "Denim & Diamonds" gala and dinner headlined by Asleep At The Wheel. The next day's shotgun start celebrity golf tournament capped the festivities.
Friday night's auction draws an enormous amount of interest each year, with top drawing items including a golf package that visits five Irish castles, a South African rifle and bow hunt, a signed and framed piece from the estate of Ronald and Nancy Reagan and a rare signed album by Elvis Presley.
Sports memorabilia from Cam Newton, the Chicago Bulls, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Peyton Manning, Roger Clemens, the Boston Red Sox, Mia Hamm, Greg Jennings, Eli Manning, Nolan Ryan and Calvin Johnson, and music items from Jimmy Buffett, Ted Nugent, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, George Lopez, Flaming Lips and Heart also earned high bids.
For 7-year-old Buddy Meade and his mother Louisa, those auction items, golf foursomes and dollars raised mean something much more personal. Just a week before the event, Buddy had major health complications but his family was determined to make it to the Golf Classic and speak directly the people who support OK Kids Korral. Buddy has been fighting and winning a battle with leukemia and the cost-free residence has allowed he and his mom to focus on treatment in Oklahoma City.
"Two days before the event, we didn't know if Buddy would be out of the hospital to speak at the event," said Juliet Nees-Bright, executive director of The Toby Keith Foundation. "He not only attended the event, but showed up in his warrior tie full of strength and courage."
Buddy, Louisa and Buddy's Uncle Jon have met Toby Keith at OK Kids Korral and were honored to speak during this year's classic. Learn more about The Toby Keith Foundation and OK Kids Korral here.