The 2016 Ryder Cup was held at Hazeltine National Golf Course in Chaska, MN and I had a rare opportunity to both attend and assist in Ryder Cup events.
Your Team Productions, co-owned by St. Paul native Joe Gallagher, was awarded the contract to execute the Welcome Gala, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Having met Joe through the St. Paul Winter Carnival, he asked me and several others from the festival community to volunteer and work at these events.
Along with Amy Mauzy, I was placed as Talent Handler for the Welcome Reception at ARIA Mpls for Ryder Cup sponsors and PGA representatives. We had the privilege of welcoming the talent for the evening-Trent Harmon (2016 American Idol), Alisan Porter (actress, dancer and 2016 Winner of The Voice) and Phillip Phillips (songwriter and 2012 American Idol), ensuring they were comfortable and escorting them to the stage for their performances.
Our roles quickly expanded to coordinating the event with me spending three days at ARIA. With an expected 600 guests, the event commanded the resources of the Twin Cities' top event, lighting, sound and technology companies. With almost a dozen vendors loading in on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, I was tasked with ordering local food for meals for all hands and assisting in unloading. I then coordinated the load out on Thursday morning. When all was said and done, the event was a success, our talent provided incredible performances in an intimate setting and we were out of ARIA ahead of schedule.
I also had the opportunity to attend the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine with friends Judy Gallagher and Sue DePauw. Not a follower of Golf, I not only became a fast learner of the game but got caught up in the excitement of the final day of play. Hazeltine and Minnesota could not have put on a better show for a worldwide audience. Nowhere were the stereotypical cold comments of, "Why would you live here?" Instead the quintessential Minnesota Autumn showed up.
With a St. Paul native putting on the Closing Ceremonies, a long-awaited USA win, and a crew at Hazeltine showcasing the beauty of Minnesota, how could one not be consumed with pride? I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Joe and Judy Gallagher for including me in their Ryder Cup festivities. An unexpected experience for sure, the Ryder Cup will be a very special memory for me.