Golfers couldn’t have asked for a better day at Perham
Lakeside Gold Club last Friday at the 27th Annual Tuffy Nelson Golf
Classic. More than 200 golfers hit
the course for a 4-person team playing 2-out of-4 Best Ball with Net and Gross
“Well, we probably couldn’t have asked for a better day,”
said Kenny Nelson, Tuffy’s son and the man in charge of KLN Enterprises. “Nick and the folks here at Lakeside
put on a great tournament and I hope all the golfers enjoyed their day.”
Kenny was one of many to enjoy the day, as he shoot an
even-par 72 on the Maple and Oak courses at PLGC. That wasn’t quite good enough for low score of the day. That went to Bryce Mattson, who shot a
68. Tom Thompson was runner-up
with a 70, followed by Curt Nyhus and Adam Dooley who both shot 71’s.
Thompson and Nyhus teamed with Corey Nyhus, and Craig Nyhus
to take the top team honors with a score of 131.
The Net Division Champion was Chris DeConcini who had a
score of 64, one better than Ken Rosen (65). The Net Team champs were Brian Steinwagner, Fred Becker,
Brett Steinwagner, Bob Popowski, who had a score of 116.
One of the recognizable names to enjoy the course Friday was
gold medal Olympian Phil Verchota.
“I’ve been coming back for 10 years now,” Verchota said of
his participation in the Tuffy’s Classic.
“I’ve gotten to know the course through some banking functions over the
years and I’ve known Kenny a while.”
Verchota attended Duluth East
High School where he also was a star defensive tackle in gridiron football and
recruited for both football and hockey at the University of
Minnesota. However, he chose not to play on the football team and
devoted all attention on playing hockey for the Minnesota Gophers.
Verchota was a member of the 1976 and 1979 NCAA championship teams
coached by Herb Brooks. He finished his Gopher career with 51
goals and 58 assists in 119 games.
Verchota made his international debut at the 1979 Ice Hockey
World Championship in Moscow after his college career had ended. He
then joined the U.S. Olympic team on a full time basis for the 1979-80 season.
In 61 games for the U.S. team leading up to the 1980
Olympics, Verchota scored 19 goals and dished out 24 assists. His biggest goal came in the Gold Medal
game against Finland, where he scored the game tying goal to make the score
2-2. The U.S. team went on to win,
4-2 to complete the “Miracle on Ice”.
After the Olympics, Verchota opted to play overseas with Jokerit in Finland rather than sign a
contract with the Minnesota
North Stars, who had drafted him 75th overall in the 1976 NHL
Entry Draft (he also turned down an offer from the North Stars in
1977 to leave U. of Minnesota early). Verchota also played for the U.S.
national team at the 1981 ice hockey world championship tournament in Stockholm before taking a
one year sabbatical from hockey. He rejoined the U.S. national team as a full
time player in 1982/83 and helped the United States win the ice hockey world
championship "Pool B" qualifying tournament in the spring of 1983. He
continued with the US national program until the 1984 Winter
Olympics in Sarajevo,
and retired from hockey afterwards.
Verchota was named one of the 50 greatest players in
University of Minnesota hockey history as part of "Legends on Ice"
tribute in 2001.
“You get to make a few friends and know some business people,
and know you’ll have a good time,” Verchota added about coming back to the
Tuffy’s Classic year after year. “And
it’s for a good cause.”
Traditionally, the proceeds of the tournament (after
pay-outs to the golfers) go to various cancer organizations and to the
beautification of PLGC.
“This tournament is a great way to highlight the legacy my
dad established,” Kenny said. “He was a great man who did great things,
and it’s a pleasure to honor his memory at this tournament each year.”
Darrell Douglas “Tuffy” Nelson
was born in Aldrich and graduated from Staples High School in 1938. He
went to work for Cass Clay Creamery in 1941 before moving to Cokato in 1944 to
run a small feed mill. In 1947, with wife Muggy and his five children
(Kenny, Patty, Greg, Debbie and Lisa) in tow, Tuffy moved to Perham and started
the Pine Lakes Feed and Hatchery.
In 1964, Tuffy and son Kenny started Tuffy’s Pet
Foods. They sold the business in 1971, but Kenny purchased the company
back in 2001. Meanwhile, KLN Enterprises got Barrel O’ Fun and Kenny’s
Tuffy had a very active in life in Perham. He was
instrumental in the building of a new hospital and putting lights up at the
baseball field. He helped build Perham Lakeside, he was an active fireman
and served on the school board for one-term.
Tuffy was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 1985, and
the tournament was started as a fundraiser for the Roger Maris Cancer Center in
Fargo. Tuffy passed away on March
7, 1986, but on August 4 of that year, the 2nd Annual Classic took place and a
tradition was born.
Since then, the field has gotten bigger and better each
year, as has the KLN family of companies. The expansions KLN has undertaken in
recent years has expanded the workforce to more than 1,000 people company-wide.
Click HERE to view photos from the event on Shutterfly.
Nyhus, Adam Dooley—71 ($25)
2. Ken Rosen—65 ($75)
Nelson, John Carlson—66 ($25)
1. Corey Nyhus, Curt Nyhus, Tom Thompson, Craid
Nelson, Casey Nelson, Bryce Mattson, Chris Bixler—135 ($610)
Cavanagh, Bob Cavanagh, Dan Cavanagh, Tom Coates—135 ($610)
Gundberg, Jeff Olson, Charlie Larson, Mark Fraki—140 ($400)
Caughey, Adam Dooley, Steve Dooley, Mark Kirkbride—141 ($340)
Sjostrom, Aaron Alton, Tim Feichtner, Jon Gergen—144 ($280)
Johnson, Jason Huus, Jeff Tweeton, Ryan Guck—144 ($280)
Anderson, Mike Bresnahan, Phil Murphy, Brad Helmeke—148 ($180)
Johnson, Murray Kissick, Tim Johnson, Ryan Steinert—148 ($180)
Halverson, Roger Nelson, Chris Daniels, Steve Burggrad—150 ($50)
Steinwagner, Fred Becker, Brett Steinwagner, Bob Popowski—116 ($800)
Karkela, Holly Karkela, Kevin Swenson, Chris DeConcini—118 ($610)
T-2. Jay Arvig,
Randy Skoog, Ken Rosen, Brian Meyer—118
Hofius, Pete Marjaama, Jim Doboer, Robb Reed—125 ($400)
Erickson, Chuck MacFarlane, Kevin Moog, Lauris Molbert—126 ($340)
Nelson, Rachel Nelson, Nick Kalina, Jadi Nelson—127 ($280)
Cavanagh, Jack Cavanagh, Jen Hendrickson, Bill Cavanagh—127 ($280)
Neitzke, Ken Nelson, Lance Moen, Gerry Hall—128 ($160)
Lyngaas, Sith Hansana, Terry Maier, Steve Fode—128 ($160)
T-8. Dudley Butts, Pat Dolen, Jeff Nelson, Paul Brunsberg—128 ($160)