Developed in 1994 by Black Enterprise Unlimited, the ancillary division of Black Enterprise magazine, the Golf & Tennis Challenge is the foremost golf and tennis tournament for African Americans, offering a weekend of golf, tennis, networking, and relaxation. The event also brought out a number of high powered corporate sponsors who understand the influence and wealth of this often under-utilized market. American Airlines gave away free tickets and hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer miles at social events each evening. Polo Ralph Lauren provided gift bags for all registered participants. The tournament office was powered by IBM computers. American Express sponsored financial workshops while Aetna held health seminars. Golf product manufacturer Titleist held golf clinics for beginners and Pepsi/Frito Lay sponsored a daily Kid¹s Kamp for the youngest participants. According to Black Enterprise Executive Editor Derek Dingle, the Challenge featured a mix of both top ranking Black professionals and leading entrepreneurs. "There are a number of CEO¹s from the BE 100 as well as those gaining power in the professional and entrepreneurial worlds," he told the Black Voice News. And regardless of the 100-plus weather, Dingle said, the competitive spirit remained extremely high. The event, also allowed local business owners an opportunity to network with national corporate executives and other entrepreneurs. Artist and businessman Charles Bibbs, owner of B Graphics and Fine Arts and publisher of Images Magazine based in Moreno Valley, exhibited artwork in the Challenge's Expo Hall while realtor Mike Teer of Teer One Properties in Riverside leisurely met with new prospective clients. "The Challenge put me in the same room with several current and potential corporate advertisers," Cheryl Brown, co-publisher of the Black Voice News explained. "The environment was relaxing and there was no heavy pressure to sell." While many participants joined the golf and tennis competition, others, like Riverside¹s Elaine Bibbs and Dean Teer spent their time in the resort¹s spa enjoying body masks, custom facials, and mud baths. In the evenings, participants were able to cool down in the American Airlines "big tent" featuring entertainment like The Whispers, Kool and the Gang, and comedian Steve Harvey. Event organizers will be evaluating the success of the event to decide if they will make the event a bi-annual one in California.
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