Once again, ATRA kicked off Expo with its annual golf tournament, always a big hit with die-hard enthusiasts who look forward to traversing the links in the dry Vegas climate.
This year’s program was sponsored by JDS Worldwide, under the leadership of Joe De Santino. It began bright and early at 8AM on Thursday at the Angel Park’s Mountain Course, a beautiful backdrop for this early-morning event.
But Joe wanted the tourney to be more than just a “good walk, spoilt.” He wanted to take advantage of the program to make a statement on behalf of the industry… to help someone less fortunate. His choice? The Ronald McDonald House: a charitable arm of McDonalds that helps families of children being treated for serious illnesses.
“As a two-time cancer survivor myself, I like to lend my support to anything having to do with helping people face this terrible disease,” says Joe.
“I did a Google search for charitable organizations in Las Vegas. Most of the ones that came up were for gambling or drug addiction. But then I found the Ronald McDonald House and there was no question where I wanted to put our support.”
The event’s $125 signup fee covered all the expenses, including transportation to and from the course, greens fees, prizes, and a tasty lunch at the golf course club house. That left about $500 to donate to the Ronald McDonald House.
In addition, the 2nd place team donated their winnings of $300, and the “Honest Golfer” team — a politically correct way of acknowledging the high scorers for the day! — donated their $100 prize, for a total of about $900 to the cause. A nice cap to an enjoyable event.
According to Joe, the local group was very appreciative, and even provided some volunteers to help the tournament go smoothly.
The event was held shotgun style: Each team began play from a different hole at 8AM, which helps speed things along. And they played scramble format: Everyone drives off the tee, but they play the rest of the hole from the best drive, once again speeding play along.
The winning team, with a score of 59 — 12 strokes under par! — was a two-person team that included Billy Lawrence and Manish Batra. They received a $400 prize. Mike Avila had the longest drive, and Tracey Hicks hit the shot that landed closest to the pin. Both received prizes for their outstanding play.
But maybe the best part of the event was the opportunity to make new acquaintances and meet up with longtime friends that players hadn’t seen or spoken with since the previous year.
That camaraderie, more than anything, is what Expo, and the golf tournament in particular, is all about. It’s an exercise in friendship and a true meeting of the minds for the best of the best in the transmission world.
According to GEARS Managing Editor Rodger Bland, it was a wonderful start to the nonstop event that was the 2017 Expo. “Joe did a terrific job of putting the golf tournament together under difficult circumstances. And his idea of coupling it with a charitable donation was inspired,” says Rodger.
Afterwards, everyone got together in the club house for lunch, then they loaded back into the bus to be carted back to the Paris Hotel and Casino to join the rest of the Expo crowd. A marvelous start to a successful Expo event.