Early on Saturday morning, patrons began arriving for the Third Annual Gnash’s Mini Golf Invitational presented by UnitedHealthcare at Family Golf Center in Antioch, Tennessee. The event, which is hosted by Gnash and the Nashville Predators Foundation, benefits the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Dollar General and brought together Preds fans for a morning of golf, snacks and friendly competition.
With the competitors set at their starting holes, Gnash arrived and along with him, a slew of his friends: Awesome Eagle from Tennessee Tech University, the Lighthouse Christian School Lion, Mr. C from Vanderbilt University, the Tennessee Titans’ T-Rac, Nashville’s LaRoo, Champ from Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital and Flash from the Nashville Fire Department – all familiar faces in the mascot landscape of Middle Tennessee. However, as the well-known and well-loved mascots made their first appearances, one new character stood out from the crowd – the Nashville Sounds’ Booster.
After meeting earlier in the week for the first time during a private tour of the Sounds’ new First Tennessee Park, Gnash extended the invitation for Booster to join in the fun on Saturday morning for what would be Booster’s first public appearance with a crop of Middle Tennessee’s finest characters.
“The Predators and Sounds have always had a great relationship,” Gnash, who took a quick break from practicing his newest dance moves and updating his Twitter account (@Gnash00), said via email correspondence. “Booster is the new bird in town, and I was thrilled to have him at my mini golf tournament. Once he heard we were playing mini golf to benefit the 365 Fund at Children’s Hospital, he couldn’t wait to fly the coop and join us.”
As the event participants made their way through the 18-hole course, mascots roamed around the event, playing a few holes of their own and helping participants looking for a “lucky bounce.” All of the participating characters were a hit, and fans were particularly drawn to Booster as many made sure to grab a photo with the “new guy in town.”
“I think Booster will be an eggcellent ambassador for baseball to the youth of Middle Tennessee,” Gnash said. “He’s a funny bird and we both love all sports. I even found out he is a huge Preds fan and that makes him the top bird in my eyes.”
In addition to a mini golf course, Family Golf Center also features batting cages and a go-kart track, the latter of which the mascots tried their hand at during a short break from the mini golf festivities.
What started as a friendly trip around the track to cool down, quickly turned into a competitive race between the mascots.
“No question I took home the checkered flag,” Gnash said. “I passed multiple mascots, including Booster, who was definitely a ‘fried chicken’ after the race.”
A morning full of fun and games Gnash’s Third Annual Mini Golf Invitational presented by United Healthcare certainly was, but most importantly, the event was successful in raising valuable funds for the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Dollar General. Through the 365 Fund, the Nashville Predators have made donations totaling more than $800,000 to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and its programs in the past five years.
“For all Preds families, this is a must-attend event,” Gnash said. “It is a family fun event that allows you to spend time with some of the best mascots in Middle Tennessee while helping battle pediatric cancer. We are all about making memories and this is a memory you will share with your family forever – be there next year!”