Community makes Pinto Bean Golf Classic possible

Tanner family, others make sure annual golf tournament runs smoothly

It’s not a stretch to say the Pinto Bean Golf Classic gets in your blood.

Thanks to the hearty and welcoming personalities of Rodney and Jack Tanner of the sponsoring Midland Bean Co., it’s become something of a homecoming. Holly Cosner, Jack Tanner’s daughter, who was 8 years old when the whole thing began in 1979, has seen it morph from just a fun-filled golfing event to something perhaps more profound.

“The Pinto Bean, ever since I was a little girl, it was always so exciting for our family, but it’s brought a lot of people in our community closer, and that’s made our own family huge,” said Cosner.

“There are so many friends who come back each year to play. Last year, Brian Grubbs, who’s now playing golf in college, came back to play,” said Cosner. “I remember years ago driving around in a golf cart with Brian’s dad Brett while Brian was still in diapers.”

From Day One, the Tanner family has worked together to make the tournament something special. Everybody pitches in. The late Marian Tanner, Rodney and Jack’s mother, was always in the thick of it, performing dozens of tasks herself and assigning the Tanner kids various duties.

“My girls (Elena, 13, and Olivia, 10) are excited now because they get to register the golfers,” Holly said. “I remember how excited I was when Gram said I could register.”

Over the years, Holly has shouldered more of the workload. In the past several years, she’s been in charge of sending out the tournament invitations, recruiting her daughters and husband Charles to help stuff envelopes. And for 20 years, she’s been the “voice” of the tournament, calling the golfers to the tees all day with a loudspeaker from the deck of the Elks Club.

“I’m the first to arrive on Saturday and Sunday, and Laura Stroud, who passed away a few years ago, used to call me her alarm clock because she could hear my early-morning voice at her house in the Barrett Addition. We’d laugh about that. And for years when he was alive, Jack Click would bring me a cup of coffee on Saturday morning. And Tom Maley always brings me a mimosa on Sunday morning.”

Holly never ceases to be amazed by the help extended by various community members to make the Pinto Bean Classic first-class.

“There’s a level of commitment here, a number of people working behind the scenes,” she says. “Take Juan Nakai-Tsosie. He’s an artist who for years has done all the hand-written lettering on our tournament scoreboard in the Elks Club. That’s a big, tedious job, and another job that nobody has to worry about. It’s always perfect.

“And Tom Bryant, who does all that computer work connected with the handicaps and scoring. We couldn’t run the tournament without Tom.”

“And, oh, the fireworks and Keenan Ertel and his crew. They handle the whole thing and do an incredible job. That’s just one more indication of how so many people love the tournament and want to help it succeed.”