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Miniature golf was rained out, but VIP Tournament participants still dance, socialize

Submitted

On April 13, Rowan County Parks and Recreation’s Therapeutic Recreation Division hosted the 31st annual VIP Miniature Golf Tournament, a statewide tournament for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Participants came from several counties — some as far away as Avery, Halifax and Yancey. Tournament organizers expected 95 golfers and 70 volunteers to play on Dan Nicholas Park’s two disability-compliant courses.

The volunteers work as sighted guides to assist the golfers in lining up putts, describing the course and pointing out obstacles.

During check-in for the tournament, a strong thunderstorm rumbled through the park. Participants, volunteers and staff members were forced to seek cover at a picnic shelter.

The thunderstorm left the miniature golf course too wet for play by the VIP participants. However, their spirits were not dampened by the stormy weather.

As the shelter was being rearranged by staff and volunteers for a dance and social, participants began singing and socializing.

About 10:30 a.m., setup was complete and dancing began full swing. Shortly after, a barbecue and hot dog lunch was served.

Volunteers worked with the participants throughout the day to keep everyone safe, contributing to a great time, said Edward Hailey, therapeutic recreation specialist for Rowan County Parks and Recreation.

“The Therapeutic Recreation Division was appreciative of all of the VIP participants who braved the gloomy weather to join us,” Hailey said in a news release. “We would like to thank all of the volunteers and staff who came out and helped turn a rainy morning into a bright day for the VIP participants at this year’s tournament.”

Hailey also extended thanks to the companies, individuals and volunteers who donated time and goods.

Next year’s tournament is in the planning stages with a date set for April 4. For more information, to volunteer, or to participate with Rowan County Parks and Recreation’s Therapeutic Recreation Division, call 704-216-7780.

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