Love was in the air in Love City on Sunday, February 10, with successful benefits taking place on both sides of the island.
Friends gathered at Island Blues in Coral Bay to support popular bartender Kenny Quinn, (see story on page 13) while coconut bras and grass skirts were the theme of the day at the Tahiti Open in Chocolate Hole benefitting Jim Gillfillan.
Forty teams played the 18-hole course designed by Bernie Sheehan and Steve Deisher which meandered through the construction site of future high-end development Pond Bay Club along the Chocolate Hole waterfront.
With a difficult course traversing concrete cisterns, mounds of dirt and rocks, and even a PVC pipe or two, the Tahiti Open was no amateur event.
Team Cash Money, comprised of Jeremy King, Lanny Roberts, Steve Yerger and Andy Ross, took first place in the heated contest. While second place went to team Crashie’s Duffers, third place was not so easily secured.
A three way tie initially, third place was eventually decided by a two-team shoot-out because one of the three teams didn’t stick around for the awards ceremony. After going head to head again on the first hole, team Snuba surpassed team Woody’s and Soggy Dollar and took third place all to themselves.
Each of the winning teams took home a beautiful trophy crafted by Paul Pono who incorporated Maho Bay Glassworks art into the wooden awards.
Between raffle tickets, food and drink sales, and hole sponsorships, the event raked in much more than organizers’ $25,000 net hope.
“Our goal originally was $20,000 and the very maximum we hoped to bring in was $25,000,” said Kristen Maize, one of the main organizers of the event. “We far exceeded our goal and that is really exciting.”
While raising such a sum seems daunting, Gillfillan’s popularity made it easy, explained Maize.
“Jim had a lot of great supporters which made it really easy to raise the money actually,” Maize said. “Whenever the event is fun, it’s so much easier. People really support and give when they’re having a good time.”
Drawing hundreds of people, the event couldn’t have been better attended, Maize added.
“It was wonderful — we had more than 300 people come out,” she said. “We had around 40 teams and our maximum goal was 36 teams. So we went over our goal for teams and we had a lot of spectators who came out to eat and drink and watch the melee.”
Although she said raising the money was easy, Maize down played the months of work it took numerous volunteers to pull the Tahiti Open together.
“There was an organizing committee who met for months ahead of time and the day of the event we had a lot of volunteers who did all the grunt work,” said Maize. “There were a ton of volunteers — too many to name.”
As far as organizing goes, there was no detail forgotten, according to Cid Hamling.
“I’ve worked on a lot of fund raisers and I have to say there wasn’t one detail that wasn’t worked out,” Hamling said. “It was pretty amazing.”
Funds raised at the event will help offset mounting medical bills for Gillfillan who has been battling health problems.
Volunteers documented the day and in the end compiled about 1,000 photographs of the hundreds of participants. A slide show of the images is planned for Ocean Grill at Mongoose Junction on Sunday, March 2, at 6:30 p.m. Call the restaurant, which Gillfillan co-owns with his brother, at 693-3304 for more information.