AMVETS Post 44 will host its eighth annual AMVETS Post 44 Golf Tournament on Saturday, October 16 at the Summerfield Crossings Golf Club in Riverview starting at 10 a.m.

Local golfers have many opportunities to play for a good cause, but next month, residents are invited to a one-of-a-kind tournament to raise money for veterans and other local charities.

The eighth annual AMVETS Post 44 Golf Tournament will take place on Saturday, October 16 at the Summerfield Crossings Golf Club in Riverview, with funds going to local charities, including James A. Haley Hospital, Haley House Fund, Liberty Manor, Veterans Helping Veterans, Sheriff’s Youth Ranch, A Kid’s Place, Athena House, Paws with a Cause, Wreaths Across America and more.

AMVETS member and Valrico resident Ed Branciforte chairs the event, which can host up to 144 players.

“This event is one of a kind,” said Branciforte, who, along with his wife, Debbie, has spent countless hours planning the tournament. “From the opening ceremonies to the exceptional food and beverages, there are so many aspects of this tournament that separate it from others.”

Branciforte is especially proud of the tournament’s opening ceremonies, which he describes as second to none. The ceremonies start with a bagpiper playing a Scottish fight song as the players move to their carts, then AVAST, a local amputee color guard group, recites the Pledge of Allegiance.

Singer Theresa Long will also perform a patriotic song and the group’s commander, Mike Graham, will bring out the MIA POW table setting to remember the veterans who never came home. The opening ceremony will end with a rifle salute and another performance from the bagpipes. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse on horseback will also be in attendance.

The entry fee, which starts at $100 for a single player, includes 18 holes of golf, a golf cart, range balls and a goody bag, but Branciforte emphasized that the food and beverages, also included, should not be missed. Food, which is spread out around the course, is supplied by Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Glory Days, Duke’s Brewhouse, Mission BBQ, The Stein & Vine and PDQ. There will also be drinks, including seven kegs of beer. The evening meal will be provided by Bonefish Grill and will be inside the golf club.

“The food is unsurpassed,” said Branciforte.

Ed Morse Cadillac will also be at the event with great prizes, including a car for the hole-in-one.

Sponsorship opportunities are available from $100 to $10,000.

To learn more or sign up to play, contact Branciforte at eblikesgolf@yahoo.com or 860-614-9335. To find out more about AMVETS Post 44, located at 5521 SR 60 E. in Plant City, visit www.amvetspost44.org.

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Kate Quesada is the Multimedia Manager for the Osprey Observer Newspapers. She has been working for the paper in various positions since 2005 when she graduated with her Masters degree in mass communications. She lives in Valrico with her husband Mike and son Dylan.