The City of Burnside is getting ready to tee off on a new endeavor that will hopefully be a hole-in-one both for local recreation and communities all over the Commonwealth.
The Mayor's Cup Championship is a golf tournament being organized by Burnside that will put city officials from all corners of Kentucky against each other for a number of worthy causes.
"All the mayors have the ability to submit players and teams and will send that team to compete," said Burnside Tourism Director Frank Crabtree, Jr., who conceived and developed the idea for the event. "The mayors pick the teams, so they may or may not play. They can if they want to."
Of course, there are a lot of mayors in Kentucky — and Crabtree has been busy. He counts 419 incorporated cities in all in Kentucky, and he's received "a positive response" from all except three.
"We talked to literally every single mayor outside the scope of what we'd normally deal with," said Crabtree.
There aren't a set number of teams pegged down yet — "We could have anywhere from 72 to a couple hundred teams show up," said Crabtree — but it will be first-come, first-serve once the details are more settled.
The tournament will raise money for charity; the mayors will be allotted a certain amount of money and can direct that to any charity of their choice.
Meanwhile, the players on the winning team will receive cash payouts. And no, don't expect any particular mayor to be loading up on a bunch of golf pros; ringers are discouraged with a rule that a team must have a 15 handicap total, "so they can't all be scratch golfers," said Crabtree.
They'll play at the beautiful General Burnside Island Golf Course, one of the recreational gems of Pulaski County.
"(Burnside Island Manager) Mike Lynn has done a great job keeping the course in great shape," said Burnside Mayor Robert Lawson, "so we want to show it off."
The tournament is scheduled to start September 22.
"The goal is to build a strong tradition and legacy that not only encourages healthy competition but also serves to unite leadership for a better future for Kentucky," said Crabtree.
Crabtree had the idea for the ambitious event early on, since he was first hired as Burnside's tourism guru a couple of years ago.
"I had a couple of different meetings with guys who run tournaments in different places," said Crabtree. "... The first year they hired me here at Burnside, I sat down with the mayor and said, 'Look, here's my concept on this.' Mayor Lawson was like, 'This could be great.' We talked to (the Kentucky League of Cities) and some of the larger organizations, and decided this could be beneficial to the Commonwealth for many reasons."
With COVID-19 still a concern for many in 2021, the event will be limited to the golf tournament this year, but plans are to expand into even greater things in the future. Crabtree has envisioned the "Mayor's Elite Expo," highlighting businesses selected by each mayor that have served a particular community well.
"Every city has resources, services, and businesses that are critical for making progress. These businesses work hard to take care of their communities and have built their reputation on integrity," said Crabtree. "This is a unique way a mayor can help a business in thier city by vouching for the companies service and recommending them to be an 'Elite Resource' for cities in the commonwealth. This will put a collection of the best resources in front of each Mayor and will put the best companies in front of decision makers and city projects. It’s a win-win."
Also planned for next year is a Black Tie Gala event. "Growth comes easier across the Commonwealth when cities work together," said Crabtree. "This is a networking event serves to build communication and support between all Cities and Leadership teams."
Pre-sale for the 2021 tournament will launch the first week in June, said Crabtree.
"We've never had anything that joined all the cities to work together to build a stronger Kentucky," he said.
Lawson said he doesn't know of anything else like this in the state and is eager to open up Burnside's own golf course — the best in Kentucky, in Lawson's view — and show it off to the rest of the state.
"I think it will be an honor for the mayor that wins it," he said. "We're trying to make it a good networking day for mayors and have a lot of fun. It puts us on the map even more than we already are."