Organizers looking for another $100,000 effort
By Kyle LoJacono
Each year after driving the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine through the grueling NASCAR season, David Reutimann returns to the town of his youth.
He does not get to visit Zephyrhills very often, but when he comes to the city he tries to make a difference. Six years ago he, with the help of other east Pasco residents, started the David Reutimann Charity Golf Tournament.
“We wanted to do something to get people together for a good time while helping a bunch of great charities in Zephyrhills and all over Tampa Bay,” Reutimann said. “Last year we raised $100,000 and I’m hoping to do at least that again, but I want to raise even more.”
Reutimann has been racing on NASCAR’s highest level for five years. He won his second career race, the LifeLock.com 400, this July at Chicagoland Speedway. Despite his success, he has not forgotten his first home.
“I’ve always been extremely proud of where I’m from, so it’s very special for me to come back each year and give back to the community and those in need,” Reutimann said.
The event raised about $19,000 in the first year and has increased each time since then. Last year the total amount raised increased by $20,000. Some of the groups that will benefit including East Pasco Meals on Wheels in Zephyrhills, Sunrise of Pasco County in Dade City and All-Children’s Hospital in Tampa.
Brantley Smith owns the Silverado Golf & Country Club and was one of those who helped start the event.
“It’s really grown,” Smith said. “There are a lot of race fans around here.”
The event is at Silverado, 36841 Clubhouse Drive in Zephyrhills, Dec. 3-4. It includes a cookout at 6 p.m. plus an auction and concert the first night, followed by the golf tournament the next morning.
“We’ll have items for auction that appeal to every type of sports fan, including NASCAR tickets, uniforms, helmets and plenty of signed sheet metal, including a few pieces from the Aaron’s Dream Machine,” said Sean Klotz, golf professional and Silverado general manager. “There will also be items from local pro teams and other big name athletes from all types of professional sports.”
Reutimann said the event has a casual feel.
“I didn’t want to have an event that made people act like something they’re not,” Reutimann said. “I want them to be comfortable and have a good time, and let me tell you, it is a good time. We have a blast both days.”
Reutimann, 40, grew up in Zephyrhills and has seen the east Pasco County town grow and change during the last four decades.
“I was born at Lakeland Regional Hospital because back then we didn’t have a hospital in Zephyrhills,” Reutimann said. “When I come back to town I like to just drive around and see all the things that are new. I mean it’s a lot different city from when I grew up off Wire Road.”
Reutimann went to West Zephyrhills Elementary for his first years of school and then switched to Woodland Elementary when it opened. He then went to Raymond B. Stewart Middle and Zephyrhills High.
“Even though I don’t live in Zephyrhills anymore, I still think of it as home,” Reutimann said. “Those are where my roots are and I’m proud to be from there.”
Hole sponsorships and slots for teams and players are still available for the golf tournament, but are filling up fast. Tickets are also on sale for the charity cookout and auction. For more information or for tickets, call (813) 788-1225.
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