Watauga Humane Society gets $30,000 donation
One man’s golf tournament success has earned the Watauga Humane Society $30,000.
Chip Perry, a part-time resident of Blowing Rock and CEO of AutoTrader.com, competed Jan. 12-13 in the inaugural iGATE CEO Cup golf tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
His first-place finishes in both the individual gross and the team ‘best ball’ categories earned him a total of $30,000, which he will donate to help homeless animals in Watauga County.
“I’ve been playing golf for 47 years, and this is the biggest thrill I’ve had in 47 years of golf,” Perry said. “I’ve never won a tournament, anything like this, and I went in with no expectations at all.”
Aside from a couple of rounds over the Christmas holiday, Perry said he hadn’t picked up a club since mid-October. He said he usually shoots around 80 at his home courses, Blowing Rock Country Club and Grandfather Golf & Country Club.
But the world-renowned Stadium Course at TPC at Sawgrass — rated among the nation’s top 100 golf courses — was a different story, he said. The tournament was a challenging format: golfers had no maximum on a hole, and every stroke counted.
Even the pros often lose balls to the water on the infamous 17th hole, an island green, but Perry said he was pleased to hit the green on both days of competition.
The result was an 84 the first day and 80 the second day, good enough for first place in two categories among the roughly 30 CEOs participating.
Perry competed with iGATE CEO Phaneesh Murthy, a tournament host, on the team competition, where they split the prize of $20,000. His individual gross win earned him another $20,000.
Perry said the donation may be used as the Humane Society sees fit.
“My wife, Monica, and I are very passionate about animals, and she has been a long-term supporter of the Humane Society, so it was actually a collective decision,” Perry said.
Jan Watson, president of the Humane Society Board of Directors, said the shelter’s average donation is closer to a modest $80.
“We have so many uses for it,” Watson said of the donation, including day-to-day operations, paying off the new building, repairing portions of the floor, adding security cameras, starting an on-site spay/neuter clinic or other needs.
Development director Susanna Russell said she was so thankful to the Perrys for their generosity.
“I was driving in traffic and Monica Perry called me, and I almost ran off the road,” Russell said.
Perry said he was lucky to take on a calm, in-the-moment mindset to deal with the pressure once he knew he was in the lead.
“It was so much fun,” he said. “Even a bigger thrill was being able to bring home a nice cash prize for the Watauga Humane Society. I know that my effort will produce benefits for many animals in our region.”