Local NFL linebacker prepares for third annual PAL charity

March 31, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

About four years ago, Brawley Police Activities League director Chris Eaton had an idea for a fund raiser for Imperial Valley PALs involving El Centro native and NFL linebacker Glenn Cadrez.

Eaton wanted to use Cadrez's name and celebrity status to put together a celebrity golf tournament. Since its inception in 2000, the annual Glenn Cadrez Celebrity Golf Classic has become PAL's biggest fund raiser.

On April 7-8, Cadrez's Celebrity Golf Classic will hit the Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort in Palm Springs for its third annual fund raiser. The event also will benefit the Tracey Biletnikoff Foundation, which educates young people about gender violence and provides resources to victims of gender violence.


"Since I've been in the Valley, I've always done charity-type events with Glenn for PAL. He's always been accommodating and has always done everything he can to help support PAL," said Eaton. "This whole golf tournament was something I approached him about a few years ago and we talked about putting it together. Now, here we are a few years later, and this has become a major fund raiser."

Said Cadrez: "This whole thing is for a good cause and is something I really enjoy doing. And I know a lot of the other guys that come out also enjoy doing this."

Everything about the tournament is about the same except the location. The first two years the event was at Del Rio Country Club in Brawley, but with the tournament growing every year, Eaton said it was time for a change.

With the change of venue came questions from local sponsors about the move to Palm Springs and whether the money raised would stay in the Valley.

"I think it's very important for everyone to know that all the money stays local. Just because we've moved the event to Palm Springs doesn't mean the money is going there; it's all staying in the Imperial Valley," said Eaton. "There were and still are people that are disappointed that we moved this out of the Valley. But our intent to move this was not to alienate the Imperial Valley people. But from a logistics standpoint, it was just too difficult to have it in the Valley.

"We could put on a first-class event in the Valley, but for the most part, we probably wouldn't get guys to come back. Nobody complained, but you could sense that they weren't thrilled about the prospect of coming back to the Valley," said Eaton.

Confirmed to appear this year along with Cadrez are Imperial native and former UCLA linebacker Robert Thomas, Oakland Raider Hall of Fame receiver Fred Biletnikoff, current Oakland Raider linebacker Bill Romanowski, former Oakland Raiders Jack Tatum, Gary Weaver, Raymond Chester, Marv Hubbard, George Atkinson and Rod Martin.

Also slated to compete in the tournament are Denver Bronco All-Pro receiver Rod Smith, Kansas City Chief Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud, former Chief running back Christian Okoye, former Los Angeles Ram and actor Fred Dryer, former Denver Bronco Bubby Brister and former Charger running back Chuck Muncie.

Scheduled to appear from the world of professional boxing are referee Joe Cortez, three-time world champion Tony "The Tiger" Lopez and former heavyweight contenders Gerry Cooney and Earnie Shavers.

"I think now, we've kind of outgrown the Valley and now have to move to a place that is more appealing to celebrities. This way, it's easier to get celebrities to come out and play … we've even had such a good response that we've had to turn people down. This has tremendous potential. And I would be disappointed if we don't double what we got last year. This year we could possibly be in the $100,000 range, all of which goes to charity."

Sponsorships are still available for the event. For more information contact Eaton at 344-8464 or 312-8864.

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