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All golfed out? Try croquet fundraiser

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Knowles Centre CEO Michael Burdz, director of finance and administration Grant Obirek, and development co-ordinator Craig Ebbers are planning the annual Charity Croquet Classic, which will take place at Fort Gibraltar on Aug. 20.

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Knowles Centre CEO Michael Burdz, director of finance and administration Grant Obirek, and development co-ordinator Craig Ebbers are planning the annual Charity Croquet Classic, which will take place at Fort Gibraltar on Aug. 20. Photo Store

Croquet? OK!

While golf tends to be a go-to recreational summer fundraiser, the Knowles Centre is taking a different approach.

The North Kildonan non-profit organization will hold the Charity Croquet Classic at Fort Gibraltar on Aug. 20. The event will help to raise money for the centre to continue to provide group care treatment, sexual abuse treatment, independent living programs and other services to boys and girls from Manitoba and northwestern Ontario.

Centre CEO Dr. Michael Burdz said the fundraiser began five years ago when Greg Thompson, of Thompson Wealth Management Solutions, began running a croquet tournament for charity. The event teamed up with Knowles Centre in its second year, and has been involved for the past four years. This year, Thompson gifted the tournament to the centre to carry on as a fundraiser.

"The baton was passed on to us to take leadership of the croquet tournament," Burdz said. "This was our first attempt leading it from beginning to end."

Development co-ordinator Craig Ebbers said the biggest challenge was tracking down new sponsors for the event, but everything came together to help create what he hopes will be a wonderful day.

Grant Obirek, the centre’s director of finance and administration, said the cash raised will help cover costs for which the centre doesn’t receive funding. One major project is to repair the driveway, which the centre is doing in stages.

"Fundraising is the only way for us to do infrastructure, to buy vehicles, because none of that is covered in any of our per diem or any of the funding we receive from government agencies," Obirek said.

Ebbers hopes to get approximately 70 players involved, which would allow for 16 teams. Spots are still available, and registration forms can be downloaded from the centre’s website at http://www.knowlescentre.ca

"We’ve had very young children playing. We’ve had people in their 90s playing," Ebbers said.

The tournament begins at 3 p.m. and will include three preliminary rounds before dinner at 6 p.m. After a scrumptious meal, the four top teams will participate in the final round to determine a champion. Entry fees are $125 a person or $350 for a team of four.

Though Obirek and Burdz have played all five times the event has been held, participants won’t need to worry about going up against a couple of juggernauts. However, one of the Knowles Centre teams got over the hump in 2012, ending up in the finals.

"It’s the only time all year we actually play," Obirek laughed. "It’s a sport where you don’t need skill. A lot of it is luck."

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