PARK VIEW — For the past two decades, a Quad-Cities fundraiser has quietly supported the work of the Iowa wrestling program.
“It does make a difference,’’ Luke Eustice, the director of operations for the Hawkeye program said Monday before teeing off at the 20th Hawkeye Wrestling Golf Outing at Glynn’s Creek Golf Course.
Around 100 golfers participated in this year’s outing, competing in an 18-hole tournament and enjoying a meal in a fundraiser which has grown from modest roots when it was a weekend event played at the nine-hole Rustic Ridge Golf Course in Eldridge.
John Jorgensen, an organizer of the event since the beginning, said the focus of the event since the start has been to provide funds needed to help the Iowa wrestling program continue to compete among the nation’s elite.
“Dan Gable was still coaching the team when this all started,’’ Jorgensen said. “The idea was to help provide equipment for the program.’’
Over the first 19 years, that help has contributed more than $142,000 which has directly benefited the Hawkeye program.
When Iowa needed to complete funding for the purchase of new mats several years ago, monies donated from the golf outing were used to complete the project.
“To see the team competing on mats we helped fund, that was special,’’ Jorgensen said. “We’ve done what we can to help.’’
Eustice said the outing’s funds have regularly been used to purchase new treadmills, exercise bicycles and other equipment to help Hawkeyes train.
“There is always a need and this event, and others like it, has helped build the foundation of the program at Iowa,’’ Eustice said. “Our student-athletes benefit from the dollars that outings like this provide.’’
A similar golf outing to help provide funds for the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, which provides post-graduate opportunities in the sport, was held last weekend Lake Okoboji.
Jorgensen said Hawkeye wrestling supporters from the Quad-Cities area originated the local outing, which in the past carried the name of long-time supporter Ron Bowman.
When the event changed from a weekend event to a weekday outing at the requested of university officials, the event was renamed the Hawkeye Wrestling Golf Outing.
“The goal is the same now though as it was 20 years ago, to help support the wrestling program,’’ Jorgensen said. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years.’’
Eustice said the willingness of local organizers to adapt to requested changes has helped the event continue to thrive.
“John does a good job of helping set everything up and it has been a good event for a number of years,’’ Eustice said. “The Iowa wrestling program has always had good, loyal support from the Quad-Cities area and we don’t take that for granted. They’ve been there for the Hawkeyes for years.’’