Space in Sisters High School fundraising tournament is running out
Not much brings together the community of Sisters quite like the Outlaw Open Golf Tournament.
Every year since 1998 the town has come together on the lush green fairways of Aspen Lakes Golf Course for golf and a good time, all to raise much-needed funds for the Sisters High School Athletic Department.
The tradition is back this year, and with renewed vigor. The Outlaw Open is scheduled to tee off at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 26 at Aspen Lakes, and for the first time in a few years a full field of nearly 130 golfers is expected to compete in the four-person scramble. But there are still precious spots available for those who still want to participate.
“We’ll take anybody who wants to have fun,” says Chris Ambrose, secretary of The Outlaw Booster Club, which is organizing the event.
A tradition to be proud of
The Outlaw Open is a tradition that Aspen Lakes has grown quite proud of over the years.
It started in 1998 when Aspen Lakes was in its infancy. The Cyrus family, which owns Aspen Lakes, learned that Bob Macauley, who was then the head football coach at Sisters High, was paying for his team’s trip to the state playoffs out of his own pocket.
Aspen Lakes offered up the golf course for a new fundraising golf tournament called the Outlaw Open that would help pay for such expenses. And though the first snow-marred tournament was at best modestly successful at raising funds, a new community staple was born.
“The first year was a disaster,” recalls Pam Mitchell, a co-owner of Aspen Lakes. “They didn’t pre-sell anything, they didn’t figure anyone would show up, and the weather was terrible. But after that it got better.”
Indeed. Since its first year, the Outlaw Open has helped raise more than $250,000 for the Sisters High Athletic programs.
Mitchell credits a dedicated group of community members who have helped make the Outlaw Open a success. And Aspen Lakes takes pride in being able to participate.
“One of the things we wanted when we built the golf course was to be able to give back to the Sisters community,” Mitchell says. “This is one of those ways we do it. It totally supports the Sisters football program and the rest of the school’s extracurricular activities.”
What makes it special?
Ambrose says that for the most part the entire tournament is comprised of either current Sisters residents or folks with strong Sisters ties. Playing with neighbors and friends in a laid-back environment (not to mention one of the best golf courses in Oregon) has a way of creating an atmosphere that is blast for all involved.
“There is a combination of some serious golfers and some extremely recreational golfers, all out to have a good time,” Ambrose says. “Nobody takes themselves too seriously.
“The jist of it is that it is a really fun atmosphere.”
This year should be even more centered around Sisters.
New this year is the First Annual Outlaw Hall of Fame Banquet on Thursday, June 25 at Five Pines Lodge, which will honor the rich history of Sisters Athletics. Featuring Macauley as guest speaker, the ceremony will induct 11 into the new Outlaw Hall of Fame, Ambrose says.
Combine the banquet and golf tournament, and you get a truly community-oriented occasion.
“Really the intent was to make sure that they were complementing one another,” Ambrose says of the Outlaw Open and the Hall of Fame banquet. “It really makes for a unique, Sisters-type event.
“Our goal is really to involve the community as much as possible, be it golfing, sponsoring, participating in the auctions and so on.”
After a few years of slowing participation, it appears the Outlaw Open appears healthy again.
“I think the fun that made the Outlaw Open so special is back,” says Mitchell, who credits the work of the Sisters Booster Club for revitalizing the tournament.