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K-State Today

June 18, 2019

Marching Pride Scholars Golf Tournament a hole-in-one

Submitted by Alex Wimmer

The Kansas State University Marching Band hosted its ninth annual Marching Pride Scholars Golf Tournament on June 15. The purpose of the tournament extends beyond camaraderie and alumni and community relations; it serves as a large and necessary fundraising event for the marching band.

The event concluded with a total of more than 80 sponsors, 92 golfers and $32,000 worth of scholarship funds, enough for 64 members.

"Longtime band photographer and No. 1 supporter 'Red' Skelton and I went to lunch one day and the meeting started like many other meetings I had with Red: 'I have an idea!' From this idea, the Marching Pride Scholars program was born," said Director of Bands Frank Tracz, about the origins of this fundraiser.

"One of the major issues all of the collegiate marching bands face is the retention of the older player," Tracz said. "The junior and senior years become a challenge for students to not only schedule band in their day, but also to afford the cost. Most students will eventually have to make a choice between the band and a part-time job to stay in order to stay in school. Thus, the Marching Pride Scholars is a great way to provide a $500 scholarship to the upperclassmen to stay in the band. The seventh year of this campaign provided a $500 scholarship for 176 juniors and seniors."

While fundraising for the Marching Pride Scholars is a continuous effort throughout the school year involving various community functions and civic events, the annual golf tournament has become a cornerstone for the funds' existence. It consists of sponsors for holes, carts and golfers — a representation of the incredible dedication from community members, business owners and K-State faculty. In addition to those who sponsor, the event includes a silent auction with donations ranging from Bill Snyder autographed footballs, a Coach Chris Klieman signed football helmet, and Bruce Weber Big 12 championship basketball, to locally sourced honey, gift certificates, baskets and K-State memorabilia.

Each golfer was presented with a complimentary polo shirt and gift bag upon his or her arrival. Immediately before Willy struck the tournament's inaugural shot, participants gathered around an energetic performance of "Wabash Cannonball" from a contingent of band members. Upon completion of the 18-hole shotgun start course, golfers were welcomed back to the clubhouse for lunch. More importantly, all proceeds from went toward scholarships for the upperclassmen members of the K-State Marching Band and Classy Cats.

"It is simple, the more experienced and mature players/marchers that are in the band the better," Tracz said. "All senior members continue to grow, and with the help of the Marching Pride Scholars program, I am confident we can help the students stay with the Pride."

Be sure to join us next year at Colbert Hills for the 10th annual Marching Pride Scholars Golf Tournament, date to be announced.