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Golf tourney is another great catch for Biletnikoff

The Raiders great and his wife lead the charge to help at-risk youth, and his NFL friends follow
By: Robbie Enos/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Golf, celebrity players, Raiderettes — and all for a charitable cause.

That was the scene Monday at Catta Verdera Country Club in Lincoln for Fred Biletnikoff’s seventh annual Hall of Fame Golf Classic.

“We always figured that, ‘Well, I love golf, and all the guys I know play golf’,’” said Biletnikoff, an Oakland Raiders great and Pro Football Hall of Famer. “And if you really want to have something that draws people together all the time, have a golf tournament. It’s a great way to raise money for a foundation, you get a lot of interaction with everybody, and we’ve been fortunate to get all of the ballplayers out here to come and play.”

The golf tournament benefits the Biletnikoff Foundation, which was established in memory of Fred’s daughter, Tracey, who was murdered in 1999. The foundation supports young adults and kids who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.

“We’re interested in helping adolescent teens,” said Biletnikoff, who lives in Granite Bay. “Make a great awareness of the fact that there are people out there who care about you guys, and get a message to them that they should make good decisions in their lifetime. Don’t throw away your high school years or your teen years or any type of years during your life with drugs and alcohol.”

The foundation has offices in Granite Bay and Dublin. Fred’s wife, Angela Biletnikoff, is the founder and executive director of the organization and has plans for the construction of a Tracey’s Place of Hope in Placer County. Tracey’s Place of Hope is an institution with counselors that offer help and assistance to at-risk teens and children. The project will be stationed at the current Kid’s Place in Roseville.

“We’re hoping to help kids,” Angela Biletnikoff said. “Kids that are struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, and want to take a stand. We have counseling. We’re trying to get parents involved, give them some tools to work with and help them with their everyday life.”

Former players and sports icons were in attendance to sharpen their golf game while donating to the charitable cause. Ben Davidson, a former Raiders defensive end, was one such guest.

“The number one thing about charitable events like this is the recipient of the charity money,” Davidson said. “For me, it’s fun to see old teammates and see old adversaries. It’s a great phenomenon, these charity golf tournaments that players are invited to.”

Also in attendance was Pro Football Hall of Fame president/executive director Steve Perry, who said the Biletnikoff Foundation is a special charity.

“By participating in events like this …we’re helping him help kids,” Perry said. “It does a lot of things for at-risk children. It’s a good, worthy cause. You get to hang around with these professional athletes that are Hall of Famers, people that have excelled in their particular field of work but are also great, individual people.”

Fred Biletnikoff played wide receiver and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1988. He played 14 seasons with the Raiders and was selected to the Pro Bowl six times. He also was the MVP of Super Bowl XI, and the Biletnikoff Award, bearing his name, is awarded annually to the top receiver in college football.