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Croquet showdown
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The Heartland Woman's Club will host its 17th annual Cherry Blossom Charity Croquet Tournament from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 29 at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers.

Debby Vanderbunt, club co-president, said the tournament is the only one in the Atlanta area that she is aware.

"We have some people who've come every year," Vanderbunt said. "We have a corporate group from Alpharetta who come every year and say they wouldn't miss it for the world."

She added rounds of golf-croquet take about 20 minutes to play and the game is extremely easy to learn.

"You don't have to know how to play," Vanderbunt said. "We'll teach you that day and it's a lot of fun."

The tournament will include a croquetathon and a sticky wicket contest. Vanderbunt likened the croquetathon competition to shot put where different colored balls count for different amount of points depended on how far they are hit.

She said the sticky wicket contest is set up like an obstacle course sort of like miniature golf.

The $50 registration fee covers equipment, breakfast and lunch. All proceeds go toward a different Newton and Rockdale county charity every year.

"We average collecting between $5,000 and $6,000 every year," Vanderbunt said.

This year, proceeds collected will go to Friends of Newton Parks for the construction of a new park adjacent to the Newton County Library as well as to Rockdale Senior Services Olivia Haydel Senior Center for the purchase of new items to accommodate the needs of the expanding facility.

Heartland Woman's Club members will also hold a silent auction and award prizes to those in the best croquet costumes after the tournament.

Advertising contributions and sponsorship fees are being accepted until March 14. Contributions of $250 or more include two free entries to play plus a court sponsorship with the company name emblazoned on a flag and placed on one of the courts of play.

Sponsorships between $150 and $249 include two free entries and contributions of $100 to $149 include one free ticket.

To register to play or become a sponsor of the tournament, contact Debby Vanderbunt at (770) 786-5002 or