DECATUR – For its first year in the United Cerebral Palsy Miller Lite Barstool Open, Elmer's Ol'e Time Inn unveiled a challenging hole complete with water feature, bridge, sand trap and a replica of the bar itself.
The obstacles and steep slopes proved almost too much for Delmar Deardorff, who took 10 or 11 strokes to complete the hole. Luckily, the competitive aspect of the annual event is usually pretty far down on the list of concerns for its participants, and Deardorff was no exception.
“I don't care if I get another cup. It's just the fun that we're having, that's what counts,” he said.
Deardoff and his wife, Carol, joined Tony and Carol Schwengel on a team they called the “Fantastic Four.” He said they had an “unbelievable” time when participating for the first time last year and anticipated a similarly great experience Saturday.
Nearly 2,300 golfers took part in the event, which encompassed eight courses spanning 57 Decatur businesses, said Jenny Dawson, chief marketing and business development officer for United Cerebral Palsy Land of Lincoln.
This was the 14th year for the barstool open. Dawson said it was expected to raise about $95,000 for the nonprofit agency, which provides comprehensive services for adults and children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities in Central Illinois.
Though the event means a day of imbibing for many, organizers make sure that people conduct themselves safely by providing buses between locations. Two courses allow for designated drivers, and participants walk through the downtown course.
At the end of the night, taxi rides are available for anyone who needs one to get home safely, Dawson said.
Dawson grew up in Decatur and always knew it was a giving community but has been able to see the generosity firsthand over five years of involvement with the barstool open.
“Over 2,000 people, that's sort of astonishing when you think about it, for one day,” she said. “That's just something that has really pleasantly surprised me over the years, the positive feedback and support that we get about this event.”
Elmer's manager Nick Hendren said he enlisted the help of a friend, master carpenter Mike Dugger, to design and build the bar's challenging hole.
“It's an excellent cause,” he said of the event. “We were on board right away. I heard about it and I was like, 'We've got to be a part of this.'”
Across the city, the vibe at Lock Stock & Barrel had already become celebratory by 11 a.m.
The restaurant and bar built a new hole this year, in the shape of “LSB” to stand for its name. General Manager Brandon Curran said the course was probably a Par 3 or 4, and it even included a small sand pit and pond.
“It's fun. Everybody's out to have a good time,” he said. “It's just a really good way to get everybody out and help a good cause.”