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Charity golf event carries Riley's legacy

By Tommy Keeler Jr. - tkeeler@nvdaily.com

The late Wilbur O. "Punky" Riley loved sports, especially at Central High School. So, it's only fitting that the Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation department has a golf tournament in his name.

The Punky Riley golf tournament will be held at Bryce Resort on Friday, with a shotgun start of 1 p.m. It's a four man, captain's choice tournament. Cost is $240 per team, with the deadline being Friday.

The tournament benefits kids in Shenandoah County who cannot afford to pay for registration fees for the county's parks and recreation events. There is also a scholarship program established in the name of Punky Riley.

Riley was not only a big supporter of Central sports, but also of Shenandoah County's parks and rec programs.

The scholarship fund is managed by the Shenandoah County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Community Foundation. The funds are distributed on a case-by-case basis.

Any county resident who is 18-and-under and receiving assistance from the Shenandoah County Department of Social Services is eligible for funding support. That department decides who is eligible.

Riley was a big part of Central High School, and is still dearly missed.

"Punky was the ultimate fan that any school could have," Central athletic director Kenny Rinker said. "I came here in 1978 and he was already here then. We were very fortunate that we had a Punky Riley. He was at all the games, home and away. The only time he would miss a game was when there were two going on at the same time."

The golf tournament is all about things Riley loved. It's a sporting event, which also supports the youth in the community.

There will be prizes given out and dinner will be included. Local businesses are sponsoring some of the holes.

Rinker said it's great that Riley's life is still being honored, and that he will always be remembered.

"He was always very supportive of the kids," Rinker said. "He was a great person, and supporter of this school."

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