Chibougamau was invaded by Crees recently, yet surprisingly there were no dangerous incidents, despite the fact that they were all wielding clubs.

The Cree Nation of Mistissini held their first annual Mistissini Golf Classic July 29 at the club de golf Chibougamau. It was a huge success by all accounts as organizers were able to attract 250 participants.

The idea came about when Mistissini Chief John Longchap, John Gusset, and Jim and Anthony Macleod started talking about it last summer. It was agreed that the tournament would be held this year and become an annual event.

Anthony Macleod, the event coordinator, was pleasantly surprised by the turnout. “It was great, and we didn’t expect that many people,” Macleod said. He went on to say that they thought they had a handle on how many people were going to attend, but the calls just kept coming in. The response for the tournament was almost overwhelming.

It was organized for a very good cause. All proceeds are going towards the purchase of a retrofit van for the Mistissini Elders’ home. In total, $10,000 was raised for the van.

Some of the participation prizes included World Cup hockey tickets, a return trip for two from Chibougamau to Montreal, a two night stay at Hotel du Fort, golf bags and gift certificates for various stores. Competitive prizes given out were putters for the men’s and women’s putting contest and pitching wedges for the chipping contests. Other prizes were awarded for a long drive competition on hole number 7 and landing on the green prizes for the par threes. Sadly, no one walked away with the GMC sport utility vehicle for a hole-in-one on hole number 4, which was sponsored by Chibougamau Auto.

The format for the tournament was best ball, which meant that after everyone in a particular foursome hit his or her ball, everyone would play the ball that was hit the furthest or ended up in the best position. It wasn’t a competitive tournament so no one kept track of his or her score.

The chairpersons of the tournament were John Longchap and the President of the Native Women’s Association for the Mistissini region, Mary Jane Petawabano. Ted Moses also had a few words to say to the people, who by that time were sweltering in the non-air-conditioned hall.

“It was very well received by all participants the way it was organized,” said Longchap.

One of the little “extras” was the fact that they served lunch at the tourney, supplied by the Mistissini Police, which usually isn’t offered at other events.

The Chief is looking forward to next year when the second annual Mistissini Classic will take place again in Chibougamau.

“This was a make-or-break tournament. From the response of the people will we definitely be back next year.”