Participation in this year’s Phil Ford Golf Classic Gala is at an all-time high, with tickets for the event that starts tonight being sold out for the past month.
“This is the first year we have sold out this fast,” said Tony Orr, the director of operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Nash/Edgecombe Counties.
Former Tar Heel and current Indiana Pacer Tyler Hansbrough will be the guest speaker at tonight’s dinner and cocktail party at Benvenue Country Club.
Orr said this is the first year the event has had a celebrity guest speaker.
“It’s great for our community,” Orr said.
Hansbrough earned more honors at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill than any other athlete in the school’s history, Orr said.
Live entertainment is being provided by the Sleeping Booty Band.
The fourth annual fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Nash/Edgecombe counties is honoring Danny Talbott, a local sports superstar.
In the mid-1960s, Talbott played quarterback on the football team and first base on the baseball team for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, earning First Team All-ACC honors in both sports. He played one season of minor league baseball in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, then spent three years backing up Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgenson for Vince Lombardi’s Washington Redskins.
Talbott, who is recovering from cancer, still resides in Rocky Mount, where he lives with his wife, Myrlene.
Ford is a sports legend himself.
Ford, a native of Rocky Mount and a 1974 graduate of Rocky Mount High School, was a backcourt star on Carolina teams that won 99 of 124 games in his four years.
This the first year the event has recognized a local sports legend, Orr said.
“What a great person to start with (in honoring Danny Talbott),” he said. “Danny Talbott has always been a supporter of the Boys & Girls club.”
Orr said the fundraiser is critical to the club, providing scholarships for needy children to participate in the program.
“It is a big fundraiser for us because we serve over 2,000 kids in our community,” he said. “(The scholarships) give everyone an opportunity at some level to be involved with the Boys & Girls club.”
On Saturday, a golf tournament that is part of the event will be held at Benvenue Country Club.
Sports celebrities and sponsors will play the course.
“The golf tournament is closed. It’s not open to spectators,” Orr said.
Among the sports celebrities who are scheduled to be part of the event and mingle with the locals are:
Rasheed Wallace, who played University of North Carolina before joining the NBA, where he played from 1995 to 2010. He won the NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004.
James Worthy, who was the No. 1 pick of the 1982 draft and played for the national champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Walter Davis, a standout college player at the University of North Carolina who was selected to play on the USA men’s basketball team coached by UNC’s Dean Smith that won the gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics. Davis spent 15 years in the NBA, spending the bulk of those years with the Phoenix Suns.
Chris Corchiani, who played for N.C. State University and has played for the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and Washington Bullets.
Jimmy Black, a leader on the University of North Carolina on its 1981-1982 championship basketball team that featured Michael Jordan.
Melvin Scott, who played on the 2004-2005 national champion University of North Carolina basketball team.