Organizers aim for $100,000
By Steve Lee
ZEPHYRHILLS — The race is on to surpass last year’s charitable fund-raiser by the David Reutimann Foundation.
And why not, since proceeds from the renowned auto racer’s annual golf tournament and silent auction have increased each year.
The fifth annual David Reutimann Charity Golf tournament is Nov. 27. As always, the golf outing, as well as a silent auction and cookout the night before, will be hosted by Silverado Golf & Country Club in Zephyrhills.
Organizers are aiming to raise $100,000 for local charities, which would top last year’s total by about $20,000.
“It’s really grown,” said Brantley Smith, Silverado’s owner and one of the initial organizers of the event. “There are a lot of race fans around here.
“David’s certainly the draw for it. He’s a very down-to-earth young man. We’re all so proud of him.”
Reutimann, who won his first NASCAR race this year, gladly lent his name and support to the fund-raiser when requested by Smith in 2005.
“I’ve always been extremely proud of where I’m from,” said Reutimann, who grew up in Zephyrhills and followed a family tradition of auto racing. “It’s special to come back each year to hold an event like this that gives back to our community and those in need.”
Unlike years past, in which proceeds were donated to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, organizers are targeting several local groups this year: The Pasco School District, Women’s Pregnancy Center in Zephyrhills and Camp Boggy Creek, a central Florida camp for children with life-threatening or chronic illnesses.
“He’s trying to diversify it a little bit to some of the organizations that don’t receive a lot,” said Shawn Wenkman, Silverado’s golf pro and event manager.
Shawn Reutimann, David’s cousin who serves as the racing team’s spotter when not managing the body shop at Buddy Foster Chevrolet, has been in on the organizing end since the fund-raiser’s inception.
“We really get after it,” Shawn Reutimann said.
As always, the field for the golf tourney is filling fast.
“It has filled up every year we’ve had it. It really gives me a good feeling,” said Smith, who after building Silverado in 1987 sold it in 1990 before buying it back with his wife, Susan.
Tee time for the Nov. 28 golf tourney is 9 a.m. and costs are $150 per person or $600 for a team.
The cookout and silent auction begin at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 27. Reutimann’s 00 Toyota will be among several race cars on display, and there will be plenty of memorabilia available. That includes donated items from Tampa Bay area professional sports teams — the Buccaneers, Lightning and Rays.
Additionally, the Nashville Express will entertain the crowd with country music. Cost for the cookout and silent auction is $20. Children under 12 will be admitted free. For more details, call (813) 788-1225.