The annual event is held to raise money for the Polk County Community Foundation, Inc., but it would not be possible without two of the biggest names in Northwest Georgia hosting the event.
Howard “Doc” Ayers, one of the hosts, was the head football coach at Cedartown High School in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. His teams won many sub-region and region championships and in 1963 Ayers guided Cedartown to their only state championship.
In 1964, Ayers was hired as the first coach for Vince Dooley when he was hired as the Head Coach for the University of Georgia. Ayers coached until his retirement in 1981. Ayers is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and is very active in state and community services.
Ray Beck, the other host, attended Cedartown High School from 1944-48. From a scrappy 125-pound freshman guard he became one of Cedartown’s all-time great football players. He played guard and end his senior year, calling all offensive and defensive signals.
He went to play football at Georgia Tech where he made All-American. After his college career, Beck played for the New York Giants for four years. Beck is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and a member of the NFL Alumni.
Beck passed away on January 9, 2007.
“We’ve got a good turnout,” Ayers said moments after the tournament started Friday. “We’ve got a lot of legendary sport icons here and a ton of college letterman. Long as the weather holds off, it will be a great day.”
A silent auction was also held on Friday, with several portraits of sports celebrities as well as autographed balls on hand to be bidded on.
“Ann Davidson does a terrific job with that,” Ayers said. “We’ve got a lot of great things to bid on.”
Some of the sport celebrities attending the event this year were:
Tommy Nobis, Ray Donaldson, George Rose, Wendell Couch, Jeff Burger, Pete Cox, Bucky Ayers, Ron Bradley, Ray Lamb, Kevin Bullard, Van Tanner, Robert Miller, Elliott Gammage, Jackie Roberts, Kermit Perry, Dan Pitts, Preston Herring and Jimmy Hightower.
Many other sport stars attended the event as well.
“This event take almost four months to put together,” Ayers said. “And it’s for a great cause, because all the money stays in Polk County. I’m glad so many people have came out to help make this a successful day.”
Also at the tournament, 11-year-old Daniel Morris was there as a shoeshiner.
It is the first year that Morris has done this, but all the money he makes from shoeshining goes to the event.
Ayers had asked Morris to help with the tournament and Morris saw shoeshining as his way to give back to the community.
The cost is $5 per shine, and about an hour into the event he had already shined 12 shoes. He was hoping as the tournament ended, more people would drop off their shoes to be shined. Morris hopes to make this an annual event.
“Everyone, from young to old, are contributing and it’s great to see,” Ayers said. “I’m very thankful for these people.”