Even though I belong to the New Tampa Noon Rotary Club, there’s no doubt that I have been a long-time fan of New Tampa’s original Rotary Club, which still meets for breakfast every Friday morning at Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club (TPGCC).

The New Tampa (morning) Rotary, which held its seventh annual themed Casino Night at TPGCC on October 19, decided to try a “Wild, Wild West” theme this year and an estimated crowd of 125 cowboys, cowgirls and southwestern “belles” was on-hand to enjoy the festivities — and the BBQ ribs, pulled pork and “fixins” — helped the Rotary raise an estimated $9,000 so far, as some funds are still coming in.

Event chair Tom Gruber says that adding a fund-raising race to be the evening’s “Honorary Sheriff” was a big hit and helped the three “candidates” — Joyce Gunter, B.J. Harris and new “Sheriff” Brice Wolford — raise about $1,400 of that $9,000 total.

“Wesley Chapel has it’s ‘Honorary Mayor’ race every year, and we wanted to do something fun like that to help raise more money for our selected charities, too,” Gruber said after the event. “The good news for us is that it obviously worked.” He added that several of those on-hand for the Wild, Wild West Casino Night also added to the fund-raising total by having to “pay” their way out of the makeshift “jail” during the event. Among those bailing themselves out, according to Gruber, was Rotary District 6890 Governor (and New Tampa Rotary co-founder) Tom Wade.

Gruber also wanted to thank the evening’s sponsors: Pepin Distributing, Southern Wine & Spirits of Central Florida, Chase Bank, FTI, Ardaman & Associates, SunDance Wealth Management Group, LLC, Longphee Locker Wealth Management of Raymond James Financial, The Bank of Tampa, Gunter & Gunter Insurance, The Tampa Bay Times, Zicht Wealth Management, the Zajac Family, Gerard Perret, Jr., DDS, YCN Publishing, the Alkow Family & Tampa Humidor.- GN

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