Photo Credit: Brody Wheeler
30 Years. The 30th Anniversary Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic was held on Monday, June 6, 2016 and let me tell you… it was HUGE.
When looking back at last year’s 29th Annual Tournament recap (Part 1 Here & Part 2 Here), I said over and over again how momentous it was. It truly was. The entire Buffalo Bills franchise joined us for the 1st time. Jim had recovered from cancer, was feeling well, and came back to lead the day. Plus, the weather was a fun added element: cold, non-stop rain that proved itself to be a force to reckon with.
With all that said, 29 only leads to one thing: 30.
So for the 30th Anniversary, the Kelly for Kids Foundation could not disappoint. They planned more than ever. The celebrities were huge. The themes were great. The special events were amazing.
In that order – I’ll begin with the celebs.
As always, there are some Jim Kelly Classic “alumni” who return year after year.
Dennis Haskins aka. Principal Belding from Saved by The Bell
WWE Wrestler Bill Goldberg
Daniel Baldwin. Chris McDonald aka. Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore.
There’s always Jim’s former Bills teammates: Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, Fred Smerlas, Steve Tasker, Darryl Talley, Don Beebe, Pete Metzelaars, Scott Norwood, Kenny Davis, Butch Rolle, Phil Hansen, etc.
Thurman (with so much Terry Hills love!)
Scott Norwood & Pete Metzelaars
With some Bills legends in the mix too: Booker Edgerson, Mary Wilson, Bill Polian.
As it was such a special year, the tournament also attracted some newbies:
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (pictured with former GM of the Bills, Bill Polian)
Coach Bill Cowher
TV Show Host Steve Wilkos (center)
And because that’s not enough, as I mentioned before, the entire Bills’ team took a field trip out to Batavia.
For the team to take time out of their morning to come support the Kelly for Kids foundation was one thing. Then add to that the handful of players who spent the entire day at the tournament- Tyrod Taylor, Eric Wood, Richie Incognito, etc. We couldn’t be more grateful to them for volunteering their time!
Next up, the themes.
Both the theme of the VIP Gala on Sunday night at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Buffalo and the theme of the tournament were on point. Sunday’s Country Western theme brought out some stellar outfits, but I don’t think you can beat former NFL players & professional athletes in head-to-toe golf knicker outfits.
Finally – the pièce de résistance – the helicopter golf ball drop. To raise even more money for disadvantaged youth in WNY, the Kelly for Kids Foundation offered the chance to purchase a golf ball to be dropped from a helicopter, in the hopes that it landed closest to the target. The 3 closest balls were slated to win some amazing prizes.
(note: It must be the year of Golf Ball Drops for Terry Hills, because about a month prior to the Jim Kelly tournament, we had done a Golf Ball Drop for another charity function. Why not fly a helicopter overhead and drop 500 golf balls from it multiple times a year?!)
The plan was always to have Rex Ryan go up in the ‘copter to drop the balls, but at the last minute, Jim decided he wanted to be part of the action too. With Jim and Rex strapped in and ready, and helicopter took off to position itself over 1 Fairway where the target was.
We did not anticipate the 30 mph winds on the day of the tournament, which made it difficult for the helicopter to get as close to the target as we would have liked. Still, anytime you have a helicopter, hundreds of golf balls, prizes to be won, and celebrities, you can’t really go wrong.
The entire day was a huge success, and it couldn’t have been so without all of the help from the Kelly for Kids & Terry Hills staff, volunteers, golfers, media, sponsors, and of course - celebrities.
To view the complete photo album from the day - click here or here.