You're invited to the 28th Annual Chili Open, on Saturday, February 23rd

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Although blustery and frigid February golf makes the Northeast Ohio winter tradition unique, you needn’t be a golfer to have a blast at the Chili Open.

By Ken McEntee

Few players personify golfing greatness like Ohio native Jack Nicklaus. What many fans don’t realize is that Jack overcame polio as a teenager en route to his legendary athletic career.

Fortunately, his case was relatively mild. His 10-year-old sister, who was diagnosed at the same time, was unable to walk for a year.

Even less fortunate are many polio victims around the world who never recover their ability to walk or feed themselves, let alone drive a golf ball into the horizon. Jack is so serious about his role as a Rotary ambassador for polio eradication that he has invited the first 12 people to donate $250,000 or more to Rotary’s PolioPlus Fund to golf with him at his Bear’s Club, in Florida, in March. Through PolioPlus, Rotary is working with its global partners to wipe out the disease for good. Last year, only 24 new cases of the wild poliovirus type 1 were reported globally—and only in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

When PolioPlus was launched in 1985, around 1,000 new cases were reported around the world each day.

The Rotary Club of Strongsville is one of 35,000 Rotary clubs that help to eradicate polio among their numerous humanitarian and community projects.

The Strongsville club can’t offer a round of golf with the “Golden Bear,” but it can promise an exhilarating day of winter golfing fun and all the food and beer you can consume—to raise money for PolioPlus and a wide variety of other charity work, at the 28th Annual Chili Open Golf Classic, presented by Ellsworth Advisors. The popular blast of winter fun will be held Saturday, February 23, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, in Berea. A large portion of the Chili Open proceeds will also go to eight carefully selected charities that improve the lives of children, youth and others in need.

This year’s charities are:

  • Applewood Centers
  • Boys Hope Girls Hope
  • Cleveland Furniture Bank
  • Far West Center
  • Flashes of Hope—Kick-It
  • Hope For Honduran Children
  • New Avenues to Independence
  • Youth Opportunities Unlimited

Although blustery and frigid February golf makes the Northeast Ohio winter tradition unique, you needn’t be a golfer to have a blast at the Chili Open. The event also features a high-energy celebrity auction and fabulous raffles including a drawing for:

  • A dugout loge for 10 at a Cleveland Indians game, including three parking passes and a $500 food and beverage package. The total package is valued at more than $5,000.
  • A 55-inch flat screen TV, donated by Costco of Strongsville.
  • A $350 Walmart gift card donated by the Strongsville Walmart.

Meanwhile, attendees have opportunities to cash in on the hourly 50/50 raffles and the eagerly anticipated heads and tails game for a wheelbarrow full of booze.

The Chili Open is made possible by Title Sponsor Ellsworth Advisors (EllsworthAdvisors.com), and other major sponsors like Johnny J’s Pub & Grille, Huntington, Laszeray Technology, Altenheim & Shurmer Place, House of LaRose, Union Home Mortgage, Petros Homes Inc., Axent Graphics, ABC Rental, Sysco Cleveland Inc. and York Road Automotive.

Tickets are $45 at the door, online pre-registration is $35 or $140 for a foursome until Thursday, February 21. To register or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit ChiliOpen.com. If you’d like to play golf with Jack for a $250,000 donation, please email harvey.newcomb@rotary.org.

The Chili Open Golf Classic will be held Saturday, February 23, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, in Berea.