A 20-year, family-run charity golf tournament ends its run Saturday, after 20 years and approximately $200,000 raised for cardiac rehabilitation at Thompson Health.

VICTOR — A local charity golf tournament that started with a conversation between cousins at a 1996 family reunion will finally come to a close this weekend as the Yarger and Kay families pull off their 20th and final Yarger Memorial Golf Scramble this Saturday.

Heading into the weekend, the total raised stands at over $187,000, so organizers are confident they will surpass the $200,000 mark when it’s all said and done.

It was very important to the families that the tournament finish strong, and $200,000 is a pretty good way to go out, said cofounder Bill Yarger of Hall.

“Let’s finish with a flourish,” agreed cousin Brady Kay, a Canandaigua native now living in Massachusetts.

The two said it was while preparing the pig roast at that family reunion 21 years ago that a small group of them started talking about how Brady’s father, George Kay, had just taken up golf. Since they had impressive turnouts for their reunion every year, they thought it might be nice to start a family tournament. Later, over coffee, they decided it could be a charity tournament.

Kay suggested the proceeds go to the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department at Thompson Hospital, where he had rehabbed following a heart attack.

Having lost his father and several other relatives to heart disease, Yarger was on board and they started the ball rolling, so to speak.

“Bill ran with it and got a hold of the Thompson Foundation, and it snowballed from there,” Brady Kay said.

The first year, the tournament was held at Parkview Fairways in Victor, drawing 54 golfers and raising $5,000. The following year, it moved to Victor Hills Golf Club, where it has remained ever since. Run entirely by family volunteers, it has drawn between 120 and 140 golfers annually, raising an average of $10,000 a year for the Fralick Cardiac Rehabilitation and Fitness Center at Thompson.

Many of the sponsors are small businesses that have maintained their support throughout.

Yarger said the annual event is known as a “blue-collar tournament,” and not necessarily one that attracts excellent golfers.

“We’re kind of a hacker tournament, and we revel in that,” he said, noting several golfers have told them their tournament is the best organized, and also the most fun.

While it will no doubt be fun as well, this final year will also be tinged with sadness, because cofounder George Kay passed away June 25, 2016, just two weeks after the 19th annual tournament.

“It’s bittersweet,” Brady Kay said.

Yarger agreed. The plan was always for him and Kay to sit down and have a beer together once the final tournament wrapped up.

It’s not the first loss the family has sustained since the tournament began, however. In 2006, for example, the program featured a tribute written by Brenda Yarger Abel to a cousin who had died of a heart attack five months prior. He was only 37.

“Heart disease comes like a thief in the night, without regard, to steal what is most precious. It is foolish to believe that we could ever tame that beast, but we can strengthen our resolve to temper its bite,” she wrote. “We will not mourn, without hope. Once again we rededicate our efforts to educate and fund raise for the cardiac rehab program at Thompson, so that our losses will never be in vain.”

Bill Yarger said the family had agreed, at 15 years, that the 20th would be the last. They knew every event has a shelf life, and they didn’t want to see this one peter out.

Thompson Health Foundation Director Anita Pietropaolo said Thompson is fortunate to have benefitted from the family’s hard work over the years.

“They’re just extremely generous, and very passionate about cardiac rehab,” she said. “With the funds they’ve raised, we’ve been able to purchase wonderful equipment for the center, and they really have had a significant impact on cardiac rehabilitation services.”

According to Pietropaolo, pulling off a successful charity event for 20 years is a unique accomplishment.

“Even for an event to last 10 years is a lot, often because people underestimate the amount of work that goes into it,” she said. “Even though the Yargers and Kays are a well-oiled machine, every year there’s still a tremendous amount of work.”

Kay said that’s true, but “the hands of many make the work a little bit lighter.”

“The whole family is very supportive of one another,” he said.

It’s been worth it, according to Yarger. He knows that in addition to raising money for cardiac rehabilitation, the tournament has served as a model for other local charity golf events, with organizers sharing their tips for success.

“We’re pretty proud of that,” he said.

Kay agreed.

“It’s been what we always wanted it to be,” he said. “We wanted to have fun and the one thing we’ve always had is fun.”