Get your checkbooks ready, the annual Lutz Guv’na Race is underway.
Two candidates: Greg Gilbert of Beef O’ Bradys in Lutz and Andre Pamplona of Royal Bowling Lanes, will face off in the 2016 Guv’na Debate on May 14 at the Old Lutz School, 18819 U.S. 41. The debate will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. as both candidates field questions from the audience and partake in quirky activities to raise money for their “campaigns,” with proceeds benefitting local nonprofits and community organizations. The event is free and the public is welcome.
“They’re always very tongue-in-cheek kind of things, and they’re doing those to earn money for their campaigns,” said Suzin Carr, ambassador for the Lutz Guv’na Race. “The whole goal of the Guv’na race is to raise the most money and ‘buy their way into office’ and we proudly admit that in Lutz.”
The annual charity event— which started in 1991— is sponsored by the Lutz Civic Association, and typically raises several thousand dollars for about 20 beneficiaries.
The race continues through the Fourth of July weekend, where the winner is announced, and earns the coveted “sash” from the prior year’s winner. Last year’s winner was Jennifer Rankin, who raised more than $9,200 throughout the 2015 race.
“It’s been going on for more than 25 years and it’s just a wonderful event that benefits a lot of nonprofits and community organizations in the area, like the scouts and the Old Lutz School and the Friends of the Library,” Carr said. “They all get a portion of the money that is raised by writing grants for that money once it’s raised by the Lutz Guv’na Association.”
Typically, the race has about three or four candidates, Carr said, adding, there’s still time is anybody wants to step into the race.
The debate emcee will be Paul Vahue of First Baptist Church in Lutz, whom Carr described as “a very funny guy.”
Carr, a former two-time winner of the Guv’na Race, is also seeking additional community involvement and volunteers for the Guv’na festivities.
“We are really encouraging the community to come out,” she said. “We really need community involvement for programs like this to continue.”
For more information, contact Suzin Carr at (813) 453-5256.
Published May 11, 2016