Toby Keith (Associated Press file photo)
The final accounting is still underway, but the seventh annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic May 21-22 in Norman raised close to $600,000 to aid Oklahoma pediatric patients and their families, according to a news release.
Since its inception, the two-day event, comprised of a combination dinner, auction and concert along with a golf tournament, has raised almost $3 million for Oklahoma’s children battling cancer and their families.
The perennially sold-out gathering was standing-room-only yet again, with co-emcee Larry the Cable Guy keeping the crowd in stitches and event namesake and host Keith, who makes his home in Norman, jumping onstage to perform with headliner David Allan Coe. Surprise guest Phil Vassar, one of Keith’s Show Dog-Universal Music labelmates, also took the stage to rock the house for a few songs.
Top draws in the auction included dinner for 20 with Keith. For the second year, the meal generated such interest that Keith agreed to do two dinners, one for each of the top bidders, who pledged $28,000 a piece. A Super Bowl package went for $16,000.
Top silent auction items included a canvas of Keith featuring the lyrics to “Cryin’ For Me (Wayman’s Song)” that went for $3,900, Vikings and Jets Brett Favre jerseys at $4,100 and a Cal Ripken, Jr. package that brought in $3,500.
Pros For Africa and Whitten-Newman Foundation Co-Founder Reggie Whitten donated a custom Triumph Rocket III motorcycle autographed by NFL stars Tommie Harris (Bears), Adrian Peterson (Vikings), Roy Williams (Bengals) and Mark Clayton (Ravens). The bike sold for $40,000. According to the release, Whitten intends to make the cycle donation an annual occurrence because, in his words, “Triumph” is exactly what he wants the sick children of Oklahoma to do.
Proceeds from this year’s event will help fund the OK Kids Korral 16-room guest lodge, which will house pediatric cancer patients and their families on the grounds of Oklahoma University Medical Center. With completion expected in 2012, the 30,000-square-foot facility will provide a haven of respite for families of young children struggling through cancer treatments.
For more information, go to www.tobykeithfoundation.org.