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Contestants at Fair "Putt" Away for the Chance at $10,000

Putting contest at the Alameda County Fair attracts Bay Area contestants for a chance at the impervious $10,000 prize.

Sometimes going to the fair means grabbing a fried treat or taking on the whimsy of the colorful rides. For others, it means competing in a casual putting contest for a chance at $10,000.

Contestants this year seemed to come with no expectations in hand regarding the money.

"I have been to fair for over 50 years now with my family and decided to just do the putting contest. I'll be 60 this year," says Don McBride of San Leandro.

McBride was at ease - aimlessly swinging the putter before the start of the contest.

Mike LaScala, 23, is originally from Los Angeles and came out to take a swing with friend Drew Martin, 22 from San Leandro. They both decided to participate after passing by the fair contest booth.

"If I wasn't doing this contest I'd be working right now," LaScala explains. He is staying with his parents who reside in Alamo.

Since the beginning of the fair in June, only 3 other putters so far have made it to Saturday's final round. If there are more than 3 contestants who qualify, a random drawing will take place to figure out who will return for the one shot to sink a 60-foot putt.

The Final round takes place July 7, after the 9th horse race of the day.

Anyone who sinks the 60-foot putt will be eligible to advance to the 50-foot putt round. If no one wins the 60-foot putt, the closest one to the pin will win a consolation prize. 

This is Matt McGuire's first year assisting with the putting contest. He works at the Pleasanton Golf Center and admits the joy in seeing the people who come out to participate.

"Last Thursday or Friday we had a senior come out. Dennis [Miller] announced, 'We got this young man of 94 here today,' and a roar of cheers and applause came from the audience."

Before today's putting began, contestants gathered at the fairgrounds' golf clubhouse and practiced while getting to know eachother.

Fellow putter LaScala explained the final putt-off was to take place July 7.

"Well, I guess that's the last time I see you," joked McBride as he let out a chuckle.

Evelyn M July 06, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Fun article! Made me wish I could be there!
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