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Woodburn Chapter J holds third annual Mad-Cap Golf Fling at Woodburn Golf Club on Aug. 3

COURTESY PHOTO: SUSAN BUCK - The Wild West Woodburn Golf team won the contest for best costume at the Mad-Cap Golf Fling, an annual fundraiser by Woodburn P.E.O. Chapter J. The event raises scholarship money for girls seeking post high school education in the north Marion County region.
At the best of times, golf is often a sport that features unusual choices for garb. At the turn of the century, Swedish PGA professional Jesper Parnevik was known just as much for his skill on the links as striped pants, pork pie hat argyle sweater vests.

Going back even further, old depression-era golf photos showcased athletes in knee-high socks and puffed out knickerbockers.

As such, the third annual PEO Mad-Cap Golf Fling on Saturday, Aug. 3 captured the spirit of the sports' history of unconventional, all while raising money for a noble cause of providing scholarship money for local women to receiving post-high school education.

"We had 60 golfers, which was the best we've ever had," PEO member and tournament organizer Susan Buck said. "It was huge. We had a great turnout."

As the tournament's name implies, teams of golfers are encouraged to sport their own unusual head gear at the event's location at the Woodburn Golf Club. There is further encouragement for coordinated outfits. Buck's team — the Iron Chefs — hit the links in puffed, white toques and aprons, while the Wild West Woodburn Golf won the costume contest with matching overalls and bandanas to go along with broad-brimmed sun hats festooned with flowers and various golf accoutrements.

While the event itself is light in nature, the cause is one that the organizers hold dear and are happy to promote. The P.E.O. International organization celebrates its 150th birthday this year, with more than 200,000 members across hundreds of chapters in the United States and Canada.

Each chapter seeks to promote educational opportunities for women, and Woodburn Chapter J's Mad-Cap Fling brought in more than $3,000 that will be used to help women in northern Marion County next year.

"That's one of the things I love about PEO. It really is about empowering women," Buck said. "Because of what we raise here from this tournament, it goes to just the local scholarships."

Last year, Chapter J gave scholarships to a pair of Woodburn students, one from St. Paul and one from North Marion. Students at all three high schools, along with Gervais High School, are eligible to apply for scholarships from the Woodburn chapter each year.

But P.E.O. supports all women seeking educational opportunities, and recognizes that it's not just high school students that need financial help, In fact, with the abundance of scholarships available to students about to graduate, it is often the unconventional students — those seeking new careers or are looking to get back into school after starting a family — that have the hardest time financially.

"PEO supports women across all of the levels of education. The local ones that come right out of high school, graduate school, there are ones for women who have worked or had life circumstances and reenter education at a certain point," Buck said. "It's harder once you get moving through the system to find some money, so I really appreciate that about PEO."

The Mad-Cap Golf Fling was the second of three events that Woodburn Chapter J will hold this year. The last of which — Wise Words and Wine — will be held at Lady Hill Winery outside of St. Paul. The event is a bit more subdued compared to the pageantry of the golf tournament. Women will spend the evening sharing stories, tasting wine and bidding on silent auction items. A $20 donation includes refreshments, a flight of wine tasting, one raffle ticket and hors d'oeuvres.

Like the golf tournament, proceeds will go toward Chapter J's local scholarship fundraiser, while a portion will help the international organization. It's a further extension of the mission of P.E.O. and the Woodburn chapter, which is excited to see the support from event sponsors and patrons each year.

I grew up in this community, and I am always humbled and grateful for the support and the kindness that is extended," Buck said, pointing to sponsors like Marion Ag, Yes Graphics and Papé Machinery. "They come together to support each other and support children and education. I'm glad I grew up here and have an opportunity for other girls to find success."


Wise Words and Wine

Where: Lady Hill Winery, 8400 Champoeg Rd N.E.

Saint Paul.

When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sept. 18

Cost: $20 donation includes refreshments, a flight of wine tasting, one raffle ticket and hors d'oeuvres.

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