John F. Russell: Continuing to rally | SteamboatToday.com

John F. Russell: Continuing to rally

— Linda Danter had a reason to smile this week.

This after Mike Dunlop, the new director of golf at the Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club, stepped up to continue the Rally for the Cure golf tournament Danter started more than 15 years ago at the Steamboat Golf Club west of Steamboat Springs. In that time, the grass-roots tournament has evolved into the Rally in the Valley golf tournament and grown into a summer favorite; in the process, it has raised thousands of dollars in the battle against breast cancer. The money raised from the event goes to support the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project, an organization that helps people dealing with breast cancer, helps pay for mammograms and helps raise awareness of the disease.

For more than a decade, Danter and a dedicated group of volunteers spent their free time lining up sponsors, gathering prizes and taking care of the details that made the event a huge success.

Through the course of those years, the tournament moved to the larger Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club, the field more than doubled and the amount of money the event collected continued to grow. That money was kept in the community through the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project and helps many local women and families.

Three yeas ago, Danter stepped away from the event. After 13 years, the event had grown to the point that she could no longer find the time and energy to meet the standards she set for herself. Longtime volunteer Robin Crossan took over for a couple of years, but the demands of running the tournament were simply too much for one person.

The women accomplished what they set out to do. The tournament had met its goals: It had made a difference and allowed our community to support those in need. These woman, and the other volunteers, had gone above and beyond, and this was easily seen by the success of the tournament. But after 15 years, it appeared the Rally in the Valley had reached its conclusion last summer.

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Organizers decided the event had run it’s course. It was a sad day for those who had supported it for all those years, but it was also a celebration of the success the women who started and supported the event had enjoyed throughout the tournament’s run.

But when Dunlop was hired earlier this spring and learned that the tournament was not going to happen this year, he had a different response. He sees the tournament as an important part of the community and the type of event that the local course wants to continue to support. He vowed to do what it takes to keep the event on the summer calendar. He acknowledges that the late start forced him to scale things back a bit this year, but he doesn't see any reason the event can't continue to grow in the future, and he is eager to see it succeed.

"I'm just glad to see that someone is keeping it going,” Danter said of Dunlop's efforts to take over the event and keep it going.

The truth is, nobody is happier than Danter.

She had always hoped the Rally in the Valley would become a community event and that, someday, someone would step in to bring her level of energy and dedication to the event. There is no guarantee Rally in the Valley will continue for another 16 years, but Danter couldn't be happier that it will carry on for at least one more year thanks to Dunlop, the Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club and the community of Steamboat Springs.

This year's event will take place Tuesday at the Rollingstone Ranch and will offer an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start featuring a four-person scramble format. No handicap is needed. Dunlop said early interest in the tournament has been strong, and there are only about 35 spots remaining. He said the tournament will have prizes, as well as fun competitions, such as the longest drive, longest putt and many others.

This year's tournament is $115 per player and includes golf, cart and lunch. For more information, or to register for the event, call the Rollingstone Ranch at 970-879-1391.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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