In case you hadn’t heard amidst the social media & news explosion, Monday was the 29th Annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic, held here at yours truly, Terry Hills. And in case you couldn’t guess, it’s easily our biggest event of the year. With 300 golfers alone, plus countless volunteers, staff, & media, let’s just say it’s nothing short of crazy. This year, I guess everyone wanted set the precedent for the tournament to really explode, so they invited the entire Buffalo Bills franchise, players & coaches, to attend as well.
I think I’m getting ahead of myself though. Before we can dive into the madness & excitement of the day itself, we have to first get into how we even go about setting up the course and the facility for an event with over 400 attendees. Granted, I’m not even close to the one responsible for everything. You’re hearing this from the perspective of Terry Hills’ Director of Marketing, who believe it or not, takes a very backseat role in the production of the tournament. Aside from Jim Kelly himself (and his amazing staff), who obviously without, there would be no tournament in the first place, there’s a few key Terry Hills’ players (pun intended?) that allow this event to happen.
Our Superintendent, Thad, is in my opinion, one of the major celebrities of the day. Especially this year. And I quote, “I put in 36 hours the past three days” leading up to the tournament, getting the course in PRIME shape. That in itself is no small task on a regular day. This year, Mother Nature decided to play a little joke on us, knowing that the event was set to be bigger than ever with the inclusion of the Buffalo Bills. It down poured the entire day leading up to the tournament. Rain, rain, go away, come again another day, like maybe not a day surrounding our biggest event of the year.
Thad once again proved his golf course superintendent super-stardom. Despite the 36-hours of straight rainfall (it seemed like), the course was inevitably wet, but completely still playable. Considering my backyard was 50% underwater and flooded, I was truly amazed that the course remained as functional as it did. Might I just add that not only were we faced with a LOT of rain this year, but my personal favorite weather of all time: cold rain. Temps in the 40s and low 50s graced us for the tournament, so it was nothing short of a true Western New York weather experience- wearing gloves, hats, and boots on the first day of June.
As always, our Head Golf Pro, Casey, and Restaurant & Banquet Manager, Danielle, put in countless hours to get this tournament underway as well. Simply because I can't even begin to fathom ALL of what they do to plan, organize, and execute the day, I will leave it at: they too are superstars. Really. They've both been organizing this tournament for so many years, that they almost make it look easy. How you make something of this magnitude look easy is beyond me. And let’s not leave out Gene, our Executive Chef. As someone who cannot cook to save my life, I cannot imagine readying breakfast AND dinner for over 300 people. Heck, I struggle readying meals for my small family of 3. So truly I am amazed at how effortlessly, it seems, that Gene and the kitchen staff are able to prepare that much food.
So the rain also threw a wrench in the plans for Casey, Danielle, and Gene as well. Normally, as one would expect from a summer day in June, being outside is not only no biggie, but it's preferable. Because our banquet room only seats 200 people, we normally utilize our outdoor patio for extra seating and space. Which works out perfectly, because as previously stated, who doesn't want to be outside on a beautiful summer day? Well, that beautiful summer day is not even close to what we got. So what we did get was a bit of a scramble trying to rearrange the seating & food set up to accommodate Mother Nature's little hiccup. Again, because I can't stress enough, Terry Hills management and staff are just that good, and made it happen like it was nothing.
So after that extremely brief, and I mean extremely, brief summary of how Terry Hills preps for the big day of the Kelly tournament, I’m sure you are more than ready to hear about the juicy stuff. As in, the celebrities. And the Buffalo Bills.
That part is coming. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic recap (including the appearance of celebrities with a selfie stick)!
A “Kelly Stick” Diary
Thank you to everyone who was patient enough to read through my behind the scenes, Part 1 recap of the 29th Annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic. I thought it was worth noting that this year’s tournament and preparations were already on overhaul due to the 1st time appearance of the entire Buffalo Bills organization, but that on top of that- there was rain. And a lot of it.
So despite the horrendous conditions, the tournament went on. Hmmm, where do I begin.
It was business as usual when I arrived at Terry Hills around 8am. The tents were up, signs were hung, volunteers and staff were getting ready. There was definitely less hustle and bustle than usual, but I will attribute that to the weather. No one wanted to be outside more than they had to. Normally we get most of the golfers & plenty of media waiting around hours before the scheduled shotgun to catch glimpses of the celebrities, and take their turns meeting & greeting. Not so much this year.
It’s exactly like the calm before the storm in the hour leading up to when the Bills and celebrities were scheduled to arrive. The plan was for the Bills busses and the celebrity busses to arrive at the same time, so as one could imagine, “the calm before the storm” sums it up to a tee. By the way- I love inserting golf puns when I can.
When that did happen, it was a free for all. Being my second year working the tournament, I decided to enlist some help, and I also decided to have some fun with it. But first things first. I’m essentially still a newbie, but I knew that with Jim Kelly being in good health and returning to run things this year, and with the addition of the Bills, it would inevitably be a bigger and more eventful year than ever? Well, at least bigger than my only other year working it last year. Thus, I wanted to have an extra set (or two) of hands to help me capture & document the day. My two assistants were our Staff Accountant, Julie, and my husband, Dave.
I put Julie to work snapping every possible photo she could, and she did not disappoint. Over 300 pictures from her alone created quite the photo album. Dave had dual-purposes: first and foremost, to be my informant. Truth be told, I am not a Bills fan. My allegiance is to the Indianapolis Colts, and even so, I don’t follow the NFL nearly as closely as my hubby does. So having him with me to point out some of who’s who was crucial. Should I be embarrassed to say I wouldn’t have probably recognized LeSean McCoy on my own? His second task was to be a secondary photographer & videographer- for example, capturing the time-lapse video of the shotgun. Needless to say, with all the commotion, I would have failed miserably without the two of them.
Capturing this moment of Chris Berman patting Danielle's hair was pretty on point.
So where does that leave me you might ask? I was lucky that I had two “assistants” to take general photos and videos of the event, because my fingers were busy live-tweeting and instagramming. The rain made that job especially fun, because in-between tweets I had to either break to wipe my phone off from the rain droplets, or run inside to tweet them, and run back out so that I wouldn’t miss more of the action.
On top of simply tweeting out photos of different celebrities and Bills players, this year was also the 1st appearance of a Long-Drive Contest off Hole 1. It definitely made for an interesting show ,that I was responsible for capturing in 15-second or less videos to post to Instagram & Twitter. Very fun to watch the golf prowess of an assortment of celebrities: from Rex Ryan, to Andre Reed, to Ickey Woods, and others. Some looked like golf professionals (on top of NFL professionals), while others completely whiffed. Not to mention any names… Boobie Dixon.
My fun segment of the day was the appearance of the selfie stick, which I like to call the “Kelly Stick”. At first I was a little nervous and embarrassed, honestly, to go up to these major household names and whip out a selfie stick. And while some of them did kind of give me that reaction, like “ugh really, a selfie stick…” (to which I can’t even blame them, because that too was my thought on the device prior to this event), others were coming up to mewanting to use it. I was approached numerous times with the question, “Is that a selfie stick?”
To my surprise, the selfie stick was actually a lot of fun, and more of a conversation starter than I imagined. Here’s just a few of the selfie stick shots I got from the day (because I’m sure you don’t want to look at endless photos of my mug):
In addition to more selfie stick shots, we have our entire photo album from the day up on our website, here. And as previously mentioned, videos and more photos from the event can be found on our Twitter & Instagram pages.
Want to know more or have any questions? Comment below!