Chamber of commerce and noon Rotary club host golf event
By Kyle LoJacono
Each year the Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce and Noon Rotary Club of Zephyrhills come together for one event — the annual Zephyrhills Scramble.
The golf tournament, which began five years ago, starts at 1 p.m. May 7 at Silverado Golf & Country Club, 36841 Clubhouse Drive in Zephyrhills. Registration starts at noon. For more information on the event, call the chamber at (813) 782-1913 or download a registration form at www.zephyrhillschamber.org.
“Me and my son (Kerry Barnett) started it,” said Dale Barnett, who has been a member of the Rotary club for 25 years. “We thought it would make things easier to have one big event so that business people aren’t constantly being asked to support charitable events all year.”
The money raised from sponsorships and people participating will be split equally between the two groups, with much of the funds going to area scholarships and community service projects.
“The Rotary club gives $3,500 in scholarships to Zephyrhills High School students,” said Mike Mira, chamber and Rotary president. “Usually it goes to three or four students. We also will do the Eastside Eight food baskets again at the end of the school year to help out students in need.”
The Eastside Eight refers to the eight Rotary clubs in central and east Pasco County. In December, the eight donated food baskets to children on free or reduced lunch so their families could have a Christmas dinner.
The Eastside Eight will again be giving food baskets to kids who get free or reduced lunches at school so they have meals for a few weeks in the summer. Mira, who was one of the people who organized the event, said the plan is for each group to give 50 to 75 baskets to needy children.
The chamber also does a number of charitable programs throughout the year that are partly funded by the scramble.
“One of the scholarships we will be giving this year is in the application process right now,” said chamber executive director Vonnie Mikkelsen. “We’re calling it the Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce Business Scholarship and it will go to a Zephyrhills High School student as well.
“The scholarship will be given (later) to the student whose goals best exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit,” Mikkelsen continued. “The scholarship will help the student achieve their five-year goals.”
Two years ago, the event brought in $33,000 to help fund the chamber and Rotary club’s charities, but that total dropped to $16,500 at the 2009 event.
“This is the third year I’ve been a part of the event,” Mira said. “I was the scramble chairman for two years and now I’m the president of both groups and I must say Vonnie has done a great job securing sponsorships for us and getting people interested in the event.”
This is Mikkelsen’s first year organizing the scramble. She started with the chamber last December.
“I knew about the golf tournament and knew it was with the Rotary club when I started,” Mikkelsen said. “Let me just say that it’s been a great experience helping to put it together, but there have been a lot of capable volunteers helping from the start.”
One of those volunteers is Barnett.
“People always tell me that it’s the best and most fun golf tournament they’ve ever played in,” Barnett said. “…I used to golf twice a week, but I have a pinched sciatic nerve, so I won’t be able to play in the event for the first time, but anyone looking for a fun Friday this is where to be.”
There will be a number of special things during the day, including a putting contest, longest drive event and special prices for making a hole-in-one on key holes to be determined.
“We only had 72 golfers last year and we hope to sell out this year,” Mira said. “We’ll have things going on all day and an oasis with Bloody Mary’s and margaritas for free.”
Mira said there are already more golfers signed up than last year, but emphasized there is more room for people to join in.
“We’ll let people sign up right until the start,” Mira said. “We’d like people to sign up as early as possible so we have an idea how many people will be there…We want to get as many people as we can because the more people who sign up, the more good we can do in the community.”
If you go
- What: fifth annual Zephyrhills Scramble
- When: 1 p.m. May 7, registration at noon
- Where: Silverado Golf & Country Club
- Address: 36841 Clubhouse Drive in Zephyrhills
- Call (813) 782-1913 for more information
- Registration forms at www.zephyrhillschamber.org