Poker Tourney Nets Optimists $3,500

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The Mazatzal Hotel & Casino's first Celebrity Charity Poker Tournament generated $3,500 for the Rim Country Optimist Club.

The celebrities participating in the benefit were former Dallas Cowboys Ron Fellows, Doug Cosbie and Doug Donley.

Fellows' Celebrities in Motion company helped organize the event. The tournament was his third visit with the Tonto Apache. He recently held a basketball game for the youth of the community and made a scouting visit to the area in advance of the game.

"The kids tell me they had a good time at the game," he said.

"I target tribal groups with my company," Fellows said. The object of his efforts is to provide drugs and alcohol education to Native American youth.

"A lot of these young people are getting huge amounts of money every month and the drug dealers just show up on payday and start doing business," Fellows said.

"I try to teach them they don't need drugs or alcohol to feel good," he said.

He has provided his outreach programs for about 10 years and has met with at least 30 different tribal groups over the years. He said he works with Billy Sims in Oklahoma, presenting quite a few programs.

"He's the busiest man I've ever seen. He's always signing autographs and stuff," Fellows said.

He said he has helped arrange poker tournaments in the past; the event at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino is the first in which he has participated.

His wife, Debra, works with his company and they are now moving toward developing a program to encourage Native American youth to become involved in exercise and make better food choices.

"We're meeting with Indian Health Service people right now," Fellows said.

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