Pool event raises a quarter million dollars
The Volunteer Committee for Shooting for a Cure include (from left) Cindy Pelot, Doris Laskowski and Brandon Jacoby. (More members below)
Other Volunteer Committee members for Shooting for a Cure include (from left) Dan Goska, Denny Jacoby, Cindy Havlovic, Jenny Schwake and Eleasha Laskowski.
It started out modestly enough –a weekend pool tournament for women in Wisconsin Rapids. If the organizers could attract even 16 people, they would be happy.
Imagine their joy when 32 women signed on that first year, 2002.That number doubled in year two, and it has consistently expanded. This last April, "Shooting for Cure" attracted 144 players, making it what is believed to bathe largest women's singles pool tournament in the country.
In the process, "Shooting for a Cure" has raised more than $250,000 for breast cancer research at Marshfield Clinic.
Peggy Jacoby had the original idea to benefit a breast cancer cause," said Doris Laskowski, who leads the event. Jacoby's mother died of the disease 31 years ago, and Jacoby is a breast cancer survivor who was still getting chemotherapy when the first tournament was held.
"Everybody who shoots pool in Wisconsin Rapids knew our mother," said Cindy Pelot, who is Jacoby's sister. "But we were still amazed at how we did that first year.
"The ladies say they couldn't have done it without Dan Goska, affectionately known as "Goose," the owner of Goose's Pub. Laskowski approached Goose, who has known her family for years, about hosting the event and he was quickly on board.
"You girls do whatever you want," he recalled telling them. "Now I just turn the key over to them, say 'the place is yours' and I get out of the way." Goose's Pub remains as a venue, but now is joined by23 other locations throughout the Wisconsin Rapids area. The tourney has grown so much that drivers are provided to shuttle participants between matches.
The event raises money for breast cancer research through several means, including a portion of the $35 entry fee. Cindy Havlovic helps secure support from businesses and individuals, who provide an array of items to be offered as prizes.
In addition to the women's competition, a men's tournament has been held for eight years. A field of 32 men shoots on Sunday, along with the top 32 women from Saturday. Many of the men volunteer their time on Saturday to help with driving, refereeing and other tasks.
The women's tournament draws participants from as far as Nebraska and Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania woman plans her vacation around "Shooting for a Cure." That speaks to how much fun the ladies have at this event.
"It's fun for us because we all like to shoot pool. Some of us shoot in multiple leagues," said Laskowski. "But I think the reason why this tourney is even more fun is because of the cause. I don't see people saying they have to win it. They realize what they are doing is helping someone else and making difference.
"But it's also hard work, as Goska noted. "I've been involved in a lot of events but I've never experienced so much energy put into an outing like this. It takes a strong committee with dedicated people who work together." It also takes about 50 volunteers who do everything from advance planning and coordination to refereeing and handling prizes.
"The commitment demonstrated over the years by the Shooting for a Cure volunteers and participants is amazing," said Teri Wilczek, chief Development officer. "They are a fun-loving group dedicated to providing hope to cancer patients and their families. We remain grateful for their tireless efforts and support.
"The event is always held on the first weekend of April unless that is Easter weekend. For more information about this event, contact Doris Laskowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or Brandon Jacoby at email@example.com.