Johnson City Press: $56.6 million — Olde Farm event shatters record as largest fundraiser

$56.6 million — Olde Farm event shatters record as largest fundraiser

Jeff Birchfield • Sep 10, 2018 at 7:12 PM

BRISTOL, Va. — Thanks to the participation of some of the biggest names in sports history, The American Legends for Mountain Mission Kids at The Olde Farm shattered the record for the biggest golf fundraiser ever.

Olde Farm founder Jim McGlothlin brought in NFL legends Peyton Manning and Dan Marino, NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West, golf legends Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Lanny Wadkins, Lorena Ochoa and Betsy King and former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem for the one-day charitable tournament which raised a record $56,626,054.

It more than tripled a 2010 fundraiser with Nicklaus, Player and Arnold Palmer which raised $15 million. Nicklaus, golf’s all-time leader with 18 wins in majors, complimented the region for their generosity towards the school.

“I was so excited with 15 million,” Nicklaus said. “To get the community and the people who are interested in kids and to be able to do this, it could only happen in one place, and that’s America.”

West, a 14-time NBA All-Star and the 1969 NBA Finals MVP with the Los Angeles Lakers, is quite an accomplished golfer and two weeks ago, the 80-year-old said he had seven birdies in one round. He was more focused Monday on the purpose of the event and the many stories of the school’s alumni going on to successful careers as adults.

“It’s so fun to be involved in something that’s about kids and giving,” West said. “To raise over $56 million in an event like this is mind-boggling. It serves a purpose to support a school for high-risk kids and see the opportunity of what they have to achieve in their lives. Jim McGlothlin deserves the credit. He’s the guy who put this together and it’s fantastic.”

Manning, the former University of Tennessee star and two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback with the Colts and Broncos, side-stepped a question if his future plans included coaching or getting into television. He was like the other celebrities impressed with the massive amount of money raised.

“To support this community with the amount of money raised is really phenomenal,” Manning said. “Jim has set the bar high with the $56 million. Anytime you can have fun and raise money for the cause, it’s a win-win. I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Still, there is an element of fun for the sports legends to mingle with those inside their sport and with athletes involved in other sports as former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino explained.

Marino, who retired as the NFL’s all-time leading passer, a mark since passed by Manning, looked around at some of those he was able to share part of the day with.

“To be here with Lee, Jack, Jerry, Lanny, and the others play golf, I love to play golf,” Marino said. “Also to hang out with Peyton Manning, when you’re here around Tennessee, he’s just a legend. It’s truly special to be a part of this.”

The foursome led by Betsy King won the competition part of the event at 16-under par. Manning’s team finished second, one stroke back, with Player’s group in third at 14-under. 

“We played well and it was a lot of fun,” King said. “We were actually kind of bummed because we parred the last hole, but it was still good enough. I just want to thank Jim again. It was such a fabulous experience and it’s been a while since I played in front of a crowd like this.”

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