Prestonsburg's Fight FORE MS

This time of year, it seems the guys in my family are constantly talking -- and arguing -- about golf. My brother, my daddy, my cousin -- they've all got very set, very specific opinions about the best golfers, the best equipment, and the best courses. And they'll tell you all about it in an animated, high-volume manner. Sometimes I ignore them, especially if it is yet another discussion about the elusive "perfect putter." But, sometimes, I actually listen. And one of the few topics that I've actually heard them agree upon is the very best golf tournament in Eastern Kentucky, Senator Johnny Ray Turner's Fight "FORE" Multiple Sclerosis

Now in its 11th year, the Fight FORE MS is a Floyd County summer tradition. Sponsored teams take part in a Captain's Choice Scramble at Prestonsburg's stunning Stone Crest Golf Course for prizes such as golf bags, carry bags, and rounds of golf. There's food, door prizes, and contests throughout the day. And, according to my brother, who's quite well-versed in these matters, the best gift bags you'll find anywhere. Beyond the fun of the tournament and the opportunity to catch up with most of Eastern Kentucky, there's a strong commitment to charity. Since its inception, the Fight FORE MS has led to nearly $100,000 in donations to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Senator Turner, who represents the 29th District in Frankfort, established the tournament in 2003, not long after his wife was diagnosed with MS. The Turner family's personal commitment to raising both funds and disease awareness shines through in the careful planning of the event. You can run into Senator Turner's always-sweet wife, Linda, or his awesomely creative daughters,  Margalee and Melissa, any time of the year, and they can tell you all about their plans for the upcoming tournament. Their passion, planning, and hard work are why even the pickiest Eastern Kentucky golfers deem this tournament the best.

This year's event is next Friday, June 14. If you go, look for me; I'll be volunteering! 

You can learn more about the Fight FORE MS golf tournament on the event website and Facebook page. If you can't attend, please consider donating to the event or to the National MS Society.

The HerKentucky 60 Things Project: Prestonsburg/ Floyd County

In last Sunday's Herald-Leader,  Cheryl Truman, with the help of many readers, listed 50 things that define Lexington.  We thought it would be fun to make a similar HerKentucky list, with 10 things that define our respective hometowns. Today, we're talking Floyd County, my Eastern Kentucky homeland.

Coal in my parents' backyard.
1. Jenny Wiley Theatre: A unique outdoor theater located in Prestonsburg's Jenny Wiley State Park. While the summer stock theater crowd pads their resumes, Eastern Kentuckians enjoy high-quality productions.  I've seen more revivals of Annie, Grease, and Steel Magnolias than I can count, along with the signature Jenny Wiley Story.

2. Billy Ray's: Originally a pool room, Billy Ray's has evolved over the years into Prestonsburg's favorite diner. The decor serves as a museum of Floyd County history, commemorating elections, the historical landscape, and the tragic 1950s school bus crash. Billy Ray's hamburgers are THE quintessential Floyd County food.

3. Route 23: The Country MusicHighway. The Road to theNorth. It's also the main highway through Floyd County.

The New Martin
4. Coal: Energy source,political bellwether, source of the local economy.  Coal is everywhere in Floyd County, and we all have some pretty intense feelings about it.

5. "The New Martin": A few years ago, the town of Martin was slated to be moved from within the flood plain. And then it wasn't. The old town remains.

6. Jenny Wiley State Park: The Boat Dock, the Golf Course, Dewey Dam -- the park holds so many memories for everybody who's ever lived in Floyd County.

7. Stonecrest Golf Course: It's located on top of a mountain. You can't get any more Floyd County than that.

8. The schools: With eight elementary schools, three middle schools, and four high schools, 
Floyd County's public school system is the county's largest employer.

9. Basketball: We love us some basketball in Floyd County. We follow our high school teams. We follow our grade school teams. We obsess about our beloved Kentucky Wildcats every day of the year.

The School's been closed for 20 years, but Wayland is home of the Wasps.
10. Lizzie B's: Although it's only been open for about a year, Lizzie B's has transformed the landscape of Floyd County dining. You can get a craft beer or a glass of wine with dinner. You can get a sandwich garnished with avocado and sprouts! Revolutionary stuff that I never expected to see in Floyd County.