By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
The Eagles for Emblom Golf Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, June 1. The event, co-chaired by Greg Zylka and Rick Dehkes, is a fundraiser for prostate cancer victims. The money raised will stay locally to assist with testing costs, to support the men who are battling the disease and possibly for needed equipment at St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls.
The tournament is named for Sauk Centre native Steve Emblom, who passed away Dec. 1, 2012, after a long battle with prostate cancer.
“One hundred percent of the money raised with stay in the community,” said Zylka. “This tournament is to honor Steve and to keep the money local. If a local use can’t be found, the funds raised will go to the local Prostate Cancer Support Group.”
Zylka said the tournament is not new. It was previously called the Prostate Cancer Tournament, put on by Arnie’s (Palmer) Army. The Broadway Bar helped sponsor it, but when it closed, Zylka’s Red Bull Bar picked it up.
Dehkes moved to Little Falls in 2001 and, loving his new home, wanted to do something for the community. He got involved with Arnie’s Army.
“My father had prostate cancer. He survived because of early detection. But I also have four uncles and at least four cousins who had it or are currently battling the disease,” said Dehkes.
He and his father have had samples of their blood sent to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for testing. Geneticists continue to search for the gene that produces prostate cancer and Dehkes learned his family has a strong strain. “I am lucky to not have the disease, yet,” he said.
Dehkes has continued to work with the fundraiser, now called Eagles for Emblom.
Zylka, a good friend of Emblom’s, said that he was a true fighter.
“He exemplified what anyone goes through with cancer,” he said. “The strength, passion and grace he had while fighting prostate cancer was well-documented, and it was as if we all were going through it with him.”
Zylka said the eagle was chosen as part of the tournament’s name because the birds are strong and proud, just like Emblom.
Nettie Emblom, Steve’s wife, said the tournament is an amazing tribute to Steve.
“He would be laughing about this, a golf tournament just for him,” she said. “He loved golf, just didn’t play it much. He had fond memories of playing with his father, Red Emblom, who lives in Sauk Centre.”
Nettie plans to enter the tournament, as does their son Dustin. There may be more family members joining the fundraiser, too. She said she has heard of teams being formed from Sauk Centre, where she and Steve were originally from.
Dustin told his mother the idea of the tournament in his father’s name was “way cool.”
“This is going to be an extremely emotional day for most everyone who attends,” said Zylka.
Registration starts at 10:45 a.m., a dedication is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. and the golfing commences at noon. Afterwards, there will be a silent auction, dinner and gathering at Zylka’s Red Bull Bar in downtown Little Falls.
The sponsors are asking for teams of four. The cost is $70 per person and hole sponsorships are available for $100.
“Join the fun and honor a great community member. Come to show support to other prostate cancer victims,” said Zylka.
For more information, contact Zylka at (320) 232-9336, the Red Bull Bar at (320) 632-5627 or Dehkes at (320) 632-4178.