Annual Pioneer PlayDay golf tournament moves from June to September |  Sports

Annual Pioneer PlayDay golf tournament moves from June to September | Sports


The biggest fundraiser for Stillwater athletics is returning with its signature events, but they will happen later than originally planned.

The 32nd annual Pioneer PlayDay golf scramble, which was scheduled for Friday at Stillwater Country Club, has moved to Sept. 19 in the same location. The silent auction is now scheduled for Aug. 26 on the Pioneer Stadium concourse.

Brian Warwick, the assistant athletics director who is set to take over as head athletics director on July 1, said Stillwater Public Schools’ athletic department will spearhead the fundraiser. Previously, the booster club has coordinated it.

As the leadership shift happened, the organizers decided to take extra time to finalize the logistics. Warwick said they postponed benefit Pioneer PlayDay to everyone who plays a part in it.

“We just felt like if we had kept the same date, we wouldn’t have reached the level of event we think we should have for our donors and for our participants and for all the people involved,” Warwick said. “We feel like if we could delay it a little bit, it will allow us to make sure that the event (goes) off in the manner which we think it should and, therefore, allow it to raise the funds we feel like it could and eventually help our kids.”

The delayed timeline is a potential way to draw more attendees – and dollars – to the fundraiser.

In the past, the golf tournament and silent auction have taken place on the same day in June.

This time, the silent auction will occur first at a highly anticipated local event: the Pioneers’ home football opener against Greenwood, an Arkansas powerhouse program that won a state championship in 2020. Stillwater is set to kick off against Greenwood at 7 pm

Cheer coach Carolyn Walstad, who is also the executive director of the Stillwater Area Sports Association, is continuing her role of securing valuable items and unique experiences that can attract bidders. Last year, the News Press reported that the list included a golf ball signed by Viktor Hovland and a wrestling lesson with NCAA national champion AJ Ferrari.

“She kind of takes the lead on that silent auction, and she really gets out and gets some really good items,” Warwick said.

The football environment provides not only a setting for the silent auction, but also a way to spread the word about the golf tournament. Because the golf scramble is set for September, the athletic department has time to promote it at early-season games at Pioneer Stadium, Warwick said.

The 31st annual Pioneer PlayDay raised between $40,000 and $50,000, and Warwick said the target goal typically falls in that range. Donations are funneled into a general athletics fund and then dispersed among various programs. Warwick said he expects this year’s proceeds to be distributed among all teams instead of funding one colossal project.

“We’re still trying to recover a little bit from COVID,” Warwick said. “So all of our programs have needs trying to just play catch-up from the last couple years of low numbers, low revenues and just kind of a gap in funding and purchasing of – whether it is equipment or facilities or apparel – whatever it be .”

Community members can contact the athletic department about sponsoring a hole on the golf course, signing up for the tournament, contributing an item to the silent auction or asking general questions. Emails can be directed to Warwick via bwarwick@stillwaterschools.com or to current AD Tucker Barnard via tbarnard@stillwaterschools.com.

Warwick said he is looking forward to his first Pioneer PlayDay as head athletic director, and he predicts the fundraiser will keep growing. He credited Walstad, Jeff Watkins of DuPree Sports and Kevin Fowler of Simmons Bank for their roles in preparing for the event.

“I expect this to be our biggest year yet, actually, so I’m excited about it,” Warwick said. “It’s such a big deal to us. The injection of funds from this event allows us to do so many things, so it’s just such a big deal for our programs in our department.”

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