NEW HAMBURG -- It's not the snobs versus the slobs as in the movie, "Caddyshack," but as Mitch Miller puts it: "A group of farm hands may win first place versus a group of scratch golfers."
Miller's talking about the 19th Annual Kow Pasture Klassic scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Schindler's Tavern in New Hamburg.
"It's where adult people learn to laugh at themselves. It's a spoofy golf tournament where the good golfers don't have an advantage over people who've never touched a club," explained Miller of Kohlfeld Distributing.
Veteran David Cartner of Sikeston said the VFW Post 3174 of Sikeston will have four teams playing the nine-hole "course" this year.
"It's a fun-filled event always. As you can gather from the format, it's not as easy as it sounds," Cartner pointed out.
The game is played just like regular golf -- except it's played in a pasture and not on a regulated course. Also, participants use tennis balls and any kind of club they can construct -- which is also part of the fun.
"Some people make their own clubs and some use the standard golf club -- a 7- or 5-iron. I've seen people use hockey sticks," Cartner said.
One year someone used a prosthetic leg with a foot on it as a putter, Miller recalled, adding that it had been donated by the Chaffee VFW.
Sponsored by Kohlfeld Distributing and Schindler's Tavern, the Klassic began in 1985 when former Schindler's Tavern owner Cy Glueck wanted to create a fund-raiser for some of the local children who were utilizing the Kenny Rogers Children Center in Sikeston, Miller recalled.
Glueck contacted Miller and together they came up with the Kow Pasture Klassic. When the Klassic first began, it was actually played in a cow pasture owned by Melvin Schott located just outside of New Hamburg, Miller noted.
When Schott retired years ago, the location of the event changed to the land located directly behind Schindler's Tavern and the St. Lawrence Catholic Church, which is where it will be played Saturday.
The fact that the Klassic is a fun time and for a worthy cause is why the veterans have played for several years, Cartner said.
Proceeds benefit the Missouri Veteran's Home and the Kenny Rogers Children's Center.
"Folks in southeast Missouri are generous and community-oriented and that helps," Miller said. "We are supported so strongly by the VFW and American Legion in Sikeston, especially, and the Eagles.
Also the Kenny Rogers Children's Center is a big supporter of the tournament this year, Miller noted, adding that they, too, have been instrumental in formulating teams.
In its first year 25 or 35 teams played in the tournament. Within five years, there were 134 teams. Over the years the number of teams has dwindled a bit, but approximately 75 teams are expected to tee off this weekend.
From Sikeston and Poplar Bluff to Cape Girardeau and Jackson, participants come from anywhere within a 45-50 mile radius of New Hamburg, said Schindler's Tavern co-owner Jason Grojean.
Grojean thinks the history of the event is what draws the large crowds each year. He said: "It's been going on for a good while, and everything that is raised goes toward a fund-raiser. But most of all, it's a fun time."
It's also a patriotic event, Miller said. The American flag is visible everywhere, he noted.
"It's an avenue of flags," Miller said. "Certain sections represent each section of the armed forces."
At noon "Taps" will be played in honor of those who played in the tournament and are now dead and for veterans and current soldiers, Miller noted.
A silent auction will also begin at noon with live auction taking place at 4 p.m. Grojean pointed out there is an award for the most creative club. In addition the first place team also receives a prize.
The entry fee per team is $120 and it is a four-man scramble. Tee times start at 8 a.m. (or earlier if necessary). Participants receive a free T-shirt and tickets for their food or beverage of their choice. Teams can still be entered the day of the event; however, Grojean noted they may not be guaranteed a T-shirt.
Miller said the Klassic provides a "true meaning of good, clean fun."
Cartner agreed, recalling past Klassics.
"It's a hoot. It's in a good setting with decent people from various communities," Cartner paused. "To be proverbial: a good time was had by all."