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K-9 benefit golf tournament fundraiser to be held July 12

One of the leading fund-raising events for the K-9 units of Warren County returns in spite of COVID-19.

The third annual K-9 Choper Memorial Golf Tournament will be held Sunday, July 12, at Blueberry Hill Golf Course.

“It’s going to be the biggest tournament ever at Blueberry,” Committee Member Karen Sobkowski said. “It’s quickly become one of the most popular tournaments in the county.”

The event is a cluster scramble and it filled up quickly, with 250 players registering within four weeks of the announcement that it would be held.

The tournament is part of the ongoing efforts to fund the county’s K-9 program “These tournaments have definitely made it possible for (Conewango Township Police Officer) Scott Neiswonger to acquire K-9 Nic and (Warren County Sheriff’s Deputy) Tom Kibbey to acquire K-9 Dina, for all of them to go through the required training, and also to support the ongoing expenses association with the project,” Sobkowski said.

“Everything raised from the tournament benefits Warren County K-9s, Nic and Dina,” Neiswonger said. “Tom and I know our K-9s make a difference.”

In addition to supporting the program, the tournament honors K-9 Choper, who died in June 2018. He had served with the Conewango Township Police Department for three years.

“We do this in memory of K-9 Choper,” Neiswonger said. “This is something we look forward to.”

The event has allowed the program to move forward, doubling the number of K-9 officers in the county, and providing the groundwork for additional K-9s.

“Blueberry Hill has been amazing,” Neiswonger said, crediting Blueberry General Manager Jim Roth and Pro Gary McCollough.

The organizers have been working despite the uncertainty of the times.

“We know it has been a particularly unusual and difficult year for everyone, both businesses and individuals alike,” Sobkowski said.

Despite that, donations have been generous. “We’ve been overwhelmed at the response,” Sobkowski said.

“It’s been very humbling,” Neiswonger said.

Just being able to hold the event was not a certainty.

“We’ve gone to green,” Neiswonger said. “We’re blessed to have it this year.”

There are some changes due to the pandemic.

“We’re doing tee times this year because of COVID,” Sobkowski said.

The grand tournament sponsor is Ed Shults of Warren, Inc.

“The committee wants to thank Scott Ellsworth and Sean Ellsworth of Ed Shults of Warren for all their support and their commitment,” Neiswonger said. “They’re putting up hole-in-one prizes” including a Jeep Renegade.

“We would still welcome hole sponsorships, item donations, or basket donations,” Sobkowski said.

Anyone looking to support the tournament, the K-9 program, or for more information may contact Sobkowski at (814) 779-8413. Information about the tournament and the course may be had by contacting Blueberry Hill Pro Shop at (814) 757-8620.

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