"Georgia Power Plant Bowen has always been a major player with the United Way of Bartow County," said Janet Queen, United Way's 2011 board chairperson and maintenance specialist for Plant Bowen. "We had sponsored an annual bass tournament as our annual fundraiser for United Way. And through a period of time, so many [other groups] started hosting these bass tournaments [that] it kind of got old hat and we started thinking out of the box. What could we do different that would be new and generate more funding? So we came up with a sporting clay tournament seven years ago. The first couple of years it went really, really well. And I think it was three years ago, possibly four, one of our employees out here who had always been so involved in United Way ... had worked all day and he went home and he passed away during the night. He had some heart issues and he passed away.
"So moving forward with our sporting clay tournament, which turned out to be a huge success for United Way and Plant Bowen, we decided to make the sporting clay tournament an annual event in memory of Dennis Grogan, one of our Plant Bowen employees. And each year it has evolved, and it's gotten bigger and better. We've taken lessons learned from the prior years and we're just very, very proud. It gives us time to network with the community, and it gives us time to see people and [make] friendships. Those bonds that you make during these outings, they carry through, not just into our business relationships but into the community, and those community relationships is one of the things that Plant Bowen strives to be, [which] is a good neighbor and to be good stewards to this community."
A four-person team format with 15 shooting stations, the tournament will begin at 10 a.m. following the 8 a.m. registration. "Shooter only" entry fees are $500 for a team of four, $250 for a team of two and $125 for an individual. There are four sponsorship levels, ranging from $250 to $1,000.
With United Way's fundraising campaign officially kicking off Sept. 1, the nonprofit's president Brenda Morehouse also hopes the tournament will help generate excitement for the upcoming drive.
"With the timing of the sporting clay and the timing of the campaign, it will just be a great way to go ahead and start getting people excited about our campaign for this year. ... Last year [the tournament] raised a little over $25,000, and we had set our goal a little lower than that this year at $20,000 just because we weren't sure how sponsorships with the companies [would] go," Morehouse said. "It's looking right now that we will definitely beat that goal."
Funds raised through the campaign will be dispersed, based on need, to United Way's agencies, which Morehouse said include AIDS Alliance of Northwest Georgia, Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter, Bartow County 4-H Club, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County, Bartow Civil Air Patrol, American Red Cross, Christian League for Battered Women, New Beginnings Food Outreach, The Salvation Army, Good Shepherd Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Hickory Log Vocational School, North Bartow Community Services, Bartow Health Access, Advocates for Children, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
For more information about the United Way or the sporting clay tournament, call 770-386-1677 or view the flier posted on www.bartowliveunited.org.