In 2008, the Rev. Jim Nibler was the priest at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Newberg. He was looking for a way to fundraise and suggested to the members of his parish that they start an annual golf tournament.
Members had minimal experience organizing such an event, but they went ahead with the endeavor anyway and began what would be an annual event at Chehalem Glenn Golf Course.
The committee was pleased with the turnout and funds raised for the church and its youth program, and it knew it wanted to conduct the tournament again the following year.
Then, in 2009, tragedy struck the parish. Nibler and two other people were killed in a boating accident near the Oregon coast.
It was unclear whether the golf tournament would continue without its primary advocate and organizer.
"As a committee, while mourning, we asked what we were going to do," said Annell Pulicella, a member of the parish. "I told everyone that Father (Nibler) would have wanted this and we made it happen again, and the first year we made like $16,000. We've been going ever since."
The Father Jim Nibler Memorial Golf Tournament enters its 12th year this September, the continuation of a longstanding tradition that brings the Catholic community in Newberg together along with those who just love to golf.
The tournament is set for Sept. 7 at Chehalem Glenn Golf Course and invites all interested golfers to sign up and play.
The tournament also needs golfers for its four-person teams –people can sign up as individuals as well – and it also needs sponsors and donations for those interested in that side of things.
Proceeds benefit the church's youth program as well as its facility development fund.
Jem 100 provides the catering for the event, typically, and prizes are available for first, second and third place, longest drive, a putting contest and even through a helicopter ball drop.
The camaraderie created by the growing tournament is clear, Pulicella said, and they had nearly 100 participants last year, many of whom are returners.
"We have a lot of the same teams coming back together," Pulicella said. "They're buddies or they have become buddies through the tournament, and we have people travel from places as far as Florida."
Those interested in signing up for the tournament can visit the church's website at www.stpeternewbergor.org and click on the golf tournament link under the "about" tab.
Pulicella, who is part of a committee that runs the tournament, can be called at 503-538-3399.
She is able to provide information on how to register, when to arrive and other ancillary details.
Visitors to the church are welcome to stop by and pick up information on the tournament as well.
St. Peter's Catholic Church is located at 2315 N. Main St. in Newberg.
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