Hitting the greens for maroon and white

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News
Mike Raines tends to the grill at the 33rd annual Warhorse Classic.

The action may have been on the greens at Black Mountain Golf Course, but the focus was on maroon and white.

The Warhorse Classic teed off for the 33rd year on July 26, when nearly 100 golfers came out to support the Owen High School football team. 

The annual fundraiser, hosted by the Black Mountain Men’s Golf Association and sponsored by numerous area businesses,is a tradition among former Warhorses and supporters of the program. 

Kenny Ford began organizing the tournaments when he took over as the head coach at Owen in 1986. He continued his involvement with the Warhorse Classic after retiring in 2015. 

Kenny Ford, right, who coached the Owen Warhorse football team for 29 seasons, gives final instructions to golfers in the 33rd annual Warhorse Classic as current head coach Nathan Padgett looks on.

“It’s not cheap to pay for all of the things a football team needs,” Ford said. “This tournament lets us support those guys and have fun while doing it.”

Fifth-year head coach Nathan Padgett thanked the 24 teams of four for participating in this year’s Warhorse Classic. 

“This is the biggest fundraiser for our program and it covers a lot of costs for our team,” he said. “We really appreciate each and every one of you.”

Ford delivered the final words before the tournament kicked off.

The Voice of the Warhorses, Carl Bartlett, right, and Reynolds High School alumnus and Rockets supporter Bruce Goforth get ready to tee off in the 33rd annual Warhorse Classic on July 27.

“We got a lot of Warhorses out here,” he said. “We’re out here to have fun, we’re not doggone professionals. Turn your hat around backwards and get out there and have a good time.”

The event features barbecue, cooked near the 10th hole by Owen alumni Mike Sobol, Mike Raines and others. A raffle with prizes donated by area businesses was held following the tournament. 

“It takes a few days to add up how much we raise each year,” Ford said. “We usually raise around $10,000 and we’ve had some years where we’ve brought in as much as $20,000.”

Josh Harrold projects Black Mountain Golf Club surpassing revenue from membership fees from 2020.

A check will be presented to the Owen High School Athletics Booster Club when the proceeds are calculated, he added. 

“It’s really something how this community has helped support this team all these years,” Ford said. “We’ve always talked about ‘Warhorse Pride’ and this is what it looks like, right here.”

Owen alumnus Jesse Gardner tries to sink a hole in one on the third hole at the Black Mountain Golf Course during the 33rd annual Warhorse Classic.
Former Black Mountain police chief Steve Padgett, left, joins his brother and Warhorse head coach Nathan for the 33rd annual Warhorse Classic on July 27.
Golfers warm up before the 33rd annual Warhorse Classic at the Black Mountain Golf Course on July 27.
Golfers tee off on the 10th hole at the Black Mountain Golf Course on July 27 for the 33rd annual Warhorse Classic.