Bright idea: From former Industrial tourney organizer, Bar Stool Open golf tournament to benefit veterans

Once upon a time, the Industrial softball tournament was only an idea.

Thirty-four years later, and a few hundred thousand raised for area charities, the Terry F. Ristau Memorial Industrial Softball Tournament is one of the most recognizable social and recreational events in Warren County.

And that’s an understatement.

One of its organizers – for 27 years, Denny Nosel has another bright idea, and he wants this one to end up just as successful, if not more successful.

“I’ve been working on this in my mind for four or five years,” Nosel said of the Warren County Bar Stool Open.

Nosel thought, if it worked with softball, why couldn’t it work with “the greatest game ever played?”

“I’ve come up with 20 different names for this tournament, and 20 different reasons to run it,” said Nosel.

A friend of Denny’s, the late Ed Hunter, was very involved with the Disabled American Veteran’s group, logging over 100,000 miles driving area veterans to hospitals.

“He used to say, ‘Something ought to be done to help those guys out,'” said Nosel. “He lived and breathed ‘vets.'” Specifically, Nosel said Hunter meant funds to help local veterans with medical bills and trips to hospitals.

“‘You always have ideas,’ he’d say,” said Nosel. “Why can’t you do something for the vets?

“He is really my inspiration,” Nosel said. “I just knew I wanted to do something beyond the Industrial softball tournament.”

Warren County’s First Annual Bar Stool Open golf tournament will tee off at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 29, at Blueberry Hill Golf Club. The Bar Stool Open will benefit local veterans; funds raised will go to the Warren County Veterans Council Individual Emergency Fund – for “any Warren County veteran that needs a helping hand,” said Nosel.

Nosel said Warren County Veterans Affairs Director Ed Burris, who works closely with the Warren County United Veterans Council (area VFW organizations), is “100 percent behind it.”

While the concept for the Industrial softball tourney worked well, Nosel said there are enough bars, restaurants and social clubs in Warren County to make the Bar Stool Open a worthwhile event.

“I love the name of the tourney,” he said. “They come in all shapes and sizes… bar stools, that is.”

Nosel is soliciting donations, and seeking golf foursomes, from clubs like the American Legions of Sugar Grove, Warren and Youngsville, Sugar Grove AmVets, Clarendon Vets Club, Eagles Club of Warren, Elks Lodge of Warren, Moose Lodge of Warren, Sheffield Vets Club and Tidioute Vets Club. This is in addition to local bars and restaurants like Cornerstone and Snuffy’s, for example.

“Only those who hold liquor licenses are being invited to field teams for the tournament – that’s where the name Bar Stool Open came from – and the field will be limited to 36 teams,” said Nosel. “The event will be a four-person scramble, but a unique format will mean that any team can win. All teams will play scratch. At the end of the round, we’ll list the teams by total score then divide them into four flights. The top score in each flight and three more random placeholders in each flight will receive cash or certificates for the teams. The overall number one team will receive an engraved plaque (for the sponsor).

“You had to come up with a unique format because everybody and their brother has a golf tournament,” said Nosel.

In addition to the unique format of a no-handicap tournament with unknown flights, Nosel plans to have a dinner, a flag ceremony, a color guard, and soloist singing God Bless America.

“We’re going to go for the gusto,” he said.

Much like the actual winner of the Industrial softball tourney is the community, the winners of the Bar Stool Open will be the veterans of Warren County. There is actually less overhead costs than associated with the softball tournament, which has to pay for softballs, umpires, and now a possible user fee at Betts Park, a city park, said Nosel.

“Again, the big idea here is to raise funds to support our vets,” said Nosel. “Do it for the fun, for the pride in your establishment, to show your competition you’re better than they are, or just for a day out with your patrons but, above all, do it for the vets.”

Each team fee is $100 (and each golfer has to pay an additional $50 entry fee). Nosel said he is hoping the clubs will donate much more, and non-barstool businesses and families are encouraged to donate to “Bar Stool Open,” in care of Blueberry Golf Course.

“The goal is $10,000 (in all) from clubs,” he said. “The goal for the first year is 36 foursomes, and we’re banking on the social clubs to send me multiple teams.”

Nosel is mailing out and/or hand delivering information to clubs and businesses as we speak and, as Memorial Day is in the rearview mirror, lest we forget.

“These are adults that have served our country that need a little boost,” said Nosel.