15 Years of the AIDS Walk Open

Over time, this putt-putt style pub crawl has fine-tuned its operations, which cover 12 bars and 12 holes. The idea for the fund-raiser came from John Kane of Miller Lite.

Celebrating the winners at a previous AIDS Walk Open.
Celebrating the winners at a previous AIDS Walk Open.

In a scene almost as festive as Halloween, gay bars and straight allied bars in Kansas City will see hundreds of people March 7 decked out in creative team costumes for the annual AIDS Walk Open Mini-Golf Pub Crawl.

Michael Lintecum
Michael Lintecum

The event – managed by Michael Lintecum, events director, and Josh Strodtman, associate producer – has raised more than $20,000 in one day most years. Lintecum said that each year’s turnout ranges from 120 to 150 teams of four people each. Bus transportation is provided between the different bars

The idea for the event originally came from John Kane of Miller Lite, Lintecum said.

John Kane and Tonya (aka George) of Miller Lite.
John Kane and Tonya (aka George) of Miller Lite.

“Actually, he had pushed me a couple of years before that to do this, and I didn’t think that we could manage the event to the level that was required with the volunteers and all the logistics that are involved,” he said. “But we got it together 15 years ago. The steering committee stepped up and helped make sure that it was put together correctly. And we have always had great volunteer support leading up to the event, as well as getting the holes out the event day and picking them back up. All of those logistics that you don’t even think about when you come out with your friends and have a great day raising money.”

Right now, Lintecum said, they’re getting the holes that will go to the 12 participating bars cleaned up and ready and working on prizes for the teams.

“Miller Lite continues to be a great source of support on this,” he said. “With Miller Lite’s blessing, one of the holes will be dedicated that Tito’s (Vodka) is coming in on and they’re going to do a Tito’s hole for us. That’s a lot of fun. They’ve (Tito’s) been an AIDS Walk sponsor for several years, and they’ve always helped us with prizes. But this is the first time I’ve ever dedicated a hole for them.”

Lintecum said that unlike some other years, the Pub Crawl won’t offer a free case of Miller Lite for a year.

“It got very complicated getting the beer to the people,” he said. Instead, he said, “The winners will get four golf bags full of Miller Lite.” There will be additional prizes, too, including a grand prize.

Some of the participating bars get creative and make their own golf holes.

“We make and drop off usually around six or seven holes. Not all bars make their own,” Lintecum said. “It’s an extra fee, of course.”

He credits longtime AIDS Walk volunteers like Anne and Rick Frye for creating the holes, with help from the co-chairs.

Lintecum said that the co-chairs for AIDS Walk are also the co-chairs of the AIDS Walk Open. They are: Belinda Breckenridge Manos, Angela Dorrell, Danielle Grunz, Tosha Everhart, Joseph Pinter and Blake Dankert.

Besides the efforts of the six co-chairs, Lintecum said, events like this happen through the hard work of their steering committees. The AIDS Walk Open places several volunteers in each of the 12 participating bars, and they’re called “Hole Patrol.” Most of the volunteers have already been lined up at this point, but anyone interested in volunteering should still feel welcome to contact him at http://aidswalkopen.org.

The AIDS Walk crew and AIDS Service Foundation of Kansas City do several other fundraisers, as well, including AIDS Walk house party, World AIDS Day, and other fundraising events with local theaters, such as the Kansas City Repertory and the Unicorn. Their annual goal is $500,000 from the walk and special events.

AIDS Walk Kansas City will be April 25 at the usual location of Theis Park, near the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. This year’s theme is “Walk 2 Stop HIV Stigma.”

The Late Night Theatre cast making an appearance at the AIDS Walk Open.


One team from a previous AIDS Walk Open.

One team from a previous AIDS Walk Open.


One of the mini-golf creations, this one is at Missies B’s.

If You Go:

When: The AIDS Walk Open Mini-Golf Pub Crawl will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 7. The awards ceremony will be at 7 p.m. at Missie B’s.

What: Each of 12 bars will have a mini-golf hole, for a total of 12 holes.

Where: The participating bars are Bistro 303, Char Bar, Dave’s Stagecoach Inn, Hamburger Mary’s, Hop Cat, Kelly’s Westport Inn, Mickie’s Hideaway, Missie B’s, Ragazza, Sidekicks, Sidestreet, and Woody’s.

Registration: The fee is $180 per four-person team if registered by March 4 at midnight. Save $20 if you register before Feb. 8 by using promo code EARLYBIRD at checkout. If you register after March 4, the cost increases $20 to $200. Same-day registration is only at Missie B’s that morning before 10 a.m. To register: https://pitch.boldtypetickets.com/events/104173588.

Prizes: The top three teams and the best dressed team will be honored. The grand prize will be announced soon.

Don’t forget: Each team must have its own putter and golf ball.AIDS Walk Open Logo