By Kim Duke

Edmund Szpaicher, known to so many as, “Eddie,” left us on a cold January day in 2012. An incredible gloom took hold of our small, close-knit town that winter. However, after the tears were shed and the winter turned to spring, a dear friend of Eddie’s, Jay Stoddard, decided it was time to stop mourning Eddie and instead to celebrate the man we all loved.

That is when the Eddie Szpaicher Memorial Golf Classic was created. Eddie was passionate about golf and about his family and friends. So what a better way to memorialize him then with a fun-filled weekend of golf, laughter, great food and cold drinks!

This golf tournament not only keeps Eddie’s personality and spirit alive, it is also a vehicle with which to give back to the community he adored. All net proceeds from this event go directly to the Eddie Szpaicher Scholarship Fund. This financial award was designed for two well-deserving, college-bound students from Ellicottville Central School. The students qualify by carrying a GPA of 90 or above and playing two varsity sports. As applicants for this scholarship, the students are asked to have performed community service and to have at least two letters of recommendation.

As Mila Clauss, one of Eddie’s daughters, stated, “To apply at that age, shows these students are clearly invested in their future.”

The scholarship is awarded at graduation as a surprise and is typically a substantial monetary amount that is designed to give these worthy students the extra money they will more than likely need for their upcoming journey.

New this year, a Facebook page about the annual golf tourney has been created to keep friends, participants and sponsors informed. You can easily find it and like it by typing in Eddie Szpaicher Golf Classic. Also, the entire tournament will take place at Holiday Valley, starting with early registration on Tuesday, July 15 at the Holiday Valley Cabana Bar. Each registrant will receive a drink coupon and hors d’oeuvres will be available. The first 50 registrants will also receive a gift.

That evening, a Putting Contest and Closest to the Pin Contest will be a part of the pre-golf day festivities.

The main event is Wednesday, July 16 with shotgun start at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. The day will end with cocktails at the Cabana bar at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. The cost is $110 for golf and dinner, or $50 for dinner only.

Even if you can’t be part of the tournament but still want to be involved or to contribute, you can sponsor a hole for $100. The website provides a list of sponsors, as well as, accommodation options and all the tournament details.