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George Evans Golf Classic returns for 2021

By Lew Gilliland

The Selma Times-Journal

One year after the event was canceled due to concerns over COVID-19, planning is underway for the 2021 Evans Special Benefit Fund Golf Classic.

This will be the 11th edition of the annual event. It’s set for Wednesday, Oct. 20, at Valley Grande Golf Course. The fundraiser benefits agencies that serve special needs children in Selma and Dallas County. Those agencies include the Cahaba Mental Health Center, West Alabama Rehabilitation-Easter Seals, Selma City Schools and Dallas County Schools.

Former Selma Mayor George Evans founded the tournament. The motive was a love for special needs children he developed during a career as an educator.

Evans spent 40 years in education, including four as chief academic officer of the Alabama Department of Education and seven as superintendent of Dallas County Schools. County Schools.

“Basically, it all started when I was in the school system,” he said. “I was over the special education program, so I developed a real love … for those children. I began feeling good about doing everything I can to make their lives better.  “I started a program when I became mayor … in order to make them feel a part of what’s going on.”

Evans served two terms as mayor of Selma starting in 2008.

He said the golf tournament is a definite go for 2021, but the fun day for youngsters that traditionally accompanies it is in question due to COVID. Evans said a decision about the fun day will be made in mid-September. If it goes forward, he said it will be an outdoor event Oct. 19 at Bloch Park, which he said Mayor James Perkins Jr. has graciously agreed to allow organizers to use.

Evans said the city, through the mayor’s office, will be a sponsor for the fun day.

A rain day makeup for the golf tournament, if needed, will be Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Organizers have changed the fundraising part of the golf tournament this year via the addition of a matching funds program. Any money the benefitting agencies can raise through sales of entries into the tournament, raffle sales or just donations will be matched by the tournament, up to a certain amount. Evans said that limit has yet to be determined.

As in years past, the agencies will have to submit a report to a special needs board detailing what they plan to do with the money if it is awarded, and present another report later on how the money was spent.“We felt like if we have a match, that would give the agencies themselves a chance to be involved,” Evans said. “We felt we could get more money if we asked the agencies to participate and we could give more by matching their fundraising.”

Cost to enter the tournament is $180 per team or $90 per team member and includes a closest to the pin contest at No. 15, an inside the circle contest at No. 4, a longest drive contest at No. 3 and The Pepsi Cup Drive at No. 14.

The format will be two-person scramble with registration from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and a shotgun start at 10. Lunch will be provided for all participants, and prizes will be awarded for each flight. The deadline to enter and pay the registration fee is Friday, Oct. 8.

Corporate sponsorships are available. A platinum sponsorship is $800, while gold is $600, silver $400 and Friends of Special Needs Children is $100. Corporate sponsors will be recognized during fun day activities.

Checks should be made payable to the Evans Special Benefit Fund, Inc., P.O. Box 909, Selma, AL 36702.

For more information, call Evans at 334-538-4142 or evans_g44@earthlink.net. Tournament filers are available at Valley Grande Golf Course.