Moxie's fundraiser marks 20 years

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From left are the late mayor, Red Block, Steve Roland, and the late Pat Smith, former owner of Moxie's, enjoying a Moxie's Annual Golf Outing. This year's tournament marks the 20th anniversary of the first outing in 1995. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

There may be snow on the ground, but Gerri McGuine is thinking about golf – and not because she’s an avid player. In fact, she admits, she’s never golfed in her life. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Moxie's Annual Golf Outing. Gerri, her husband Doug, and rest of the the McGuine family, along with long-time employee Tracey Hinzman, own and operate Moxie's Tap in Guttenberg and organize the annual golf tournament held the Friday before Memorial Day. The event is held as a fundraiser and over the years the proceeds have been given to numerous causes, both local and larger. 

The four-man best-shot tournament drew close to 90 golfers in 2014, making it the biggest tournament Moxie's has sponsored to date. “There are a lot of kind people out there who donate their prize money back to the charities,” said McGuine. Donations have been made to the Guttenberg Fire Department, the Guttenberg Police Department, the Wave of the Future swimming pool renovation project, the Combat Veteran’s Association, and for Fourth of July fireworks in past years. The tournament has also benefitted local people struggling with cancer.

McGuine is particularly drawn to helping children with cancer. She remembers driving around for a half day, teary-eyed, listening to a Children’s Miracle Network fund drive on her car radio. Each year, she flags part of the golf tournament proceeds for the Children’s Miracle Network and for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

In recent years, Moxie's Annual Golf Outing has pledged dollars to Dance Marathon, a cause championed by McGuine’s granddaughter Brittany Lucas. Lucas graduated from the University of Iowa in May of 2014 and continues her studies with the University to become a radiation therapist specializing in children. She volunteers with Dance Marathon, fundraising and dancing at an annual event to provide year-round support to families of cancer patients being treated at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Since it began in 1994, the student-run organization has raised over $14.5 million for the cause. 

Like her granddaughter, McGuine has a soft spot for children in need. When her brother-in-law was hospitalized in Madison after a car accident, he and McGuine’s sister Jane met a family working with Make-a-Wish for their seven-year-old son. While many children wish for trips to Disney Land, this boy wished for something simpler.

“All he wanted was a yellow lab,” McGuine remembers. She located a lab puppy nearby, and using funds raised from the golf tournament, had a puppy (along with a supply of dog food) dropped off at his home. 

In 2012, Moxie's sold t-shirts and used the annual tournament to raise nearly $5,000 for the families of the last two individuals pulled from the World Trade Center following the Sept. 11, 2011, tragedy. 

Though the causes it supports are solemn in nature, the golf tournament itself, says McGuine, is “not a serious golf tournament. It’s for people just to have fun.” Although she doesn’t participate in the tournament by golfing, McGuine makes her own entertainment. “One year I bought balls that exploded and mixed them in with the rest,” she laughs. Another year, she remembers, golfers couldn't find their golf balls because Mark Herman placed large marshmallows all around one hole. 

Stuart Summers and Kevin Neylan organize teams and dole out prize money. Five dollars of each golfer’s entry fee goes to the charity each year.  Local businesses, and even the players themselves, often donate items for door prizes. The tournament draws players from Guttenberg and the surrounding area, as well as Iowa City, Monticello, and Oelwein for the thrill of the Moxies tournament.

McGuine credits her son, Kiley, with the successful turnout in 2014. “He was on the phone calling people the night before to fill up all the teams,” she explains. Her daughters Kris Lucas and Kelly Meyers help when needed, and are always there when the golfers come down from the golf course. 

McGuine thinks back on the first tournament two decades ago. “Pat Smith and Virgil Collins said, “Let’s have a golf tournament!” I thought they were joking,” she says. At first the tournament was by invitation only, and for a time it was held twice a year. In spite of other changes, it’s always been held in the spirit of fundraising.

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