Team Lynn Whittenburg and Trey Pierson won the judge’s choice award, with their dance to ‘Shake Senora’.
Team Meagan Walraven and Dr. Ted Pennel won the people’s choice award, dancing to the theme song from the James Bond classic, ‘Dr. No’. Team Walraven, Pennel, raised the most money of all the teams for a total of $18,718.
All dancers lead the way to the event on the famous red carpet, with all eight coupes garbed in attire from the flashy 1970’s. Dancers greeted friends, family and the community along the red carpet and ended with an interview with Tori Ralston with the Sonoraville High School video production class, taught by Bill Long. The interviews will be a part of the video of the event created by these students for sale, which are done very professionally, according to Vickie Spence.
The doors opened and the audience flooded in to find their seats. Even the neighboring restaurant, The Velo Vineyard, saw a sold out crowd of approximately 80 people watching a live video feed of the show.
Emceeing the event was Gordon County Chamber of Commerce’s Joni Harbin who delivered a comedic performance introducing dancers and the judges.
At the event, judges Melbin de la Cruz, Joey Parrot, Susan Suesserman, and Kay Ann Wetherington, chose their favorite dance couple, after offering their comments after each performance.
Before the show began, the audience was asked to participate in a brief moment of silence in remembrance of the recent passing of Pearl King, a major player in the reopening of the GEM Theatre.
Next, the dancers performed an opening group number in their red carpet 70’s attire, with wigs, sunglasses and moves such as “the disco,” choreographed by Debbie Mixon, a 2012 Dancing with the Stars competitor.
The dancers in order of performance were: Meagan Walraven and Dr. Ted Pennel; Micheal and Katie Clark, dancing to a remix of ‘Interlude’, ‘Land of a Thousand Dances’ and ‘Tootsie Roll’; Jenny and Clint Hayes dancing to ‘Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy’; Dr. Cindy Brown and Dr. Kirby Peden dancing to ‘Shake your tail feather’; T.J. Hettsmanburg and Fran Burns dancing to ‘Let’s Hear it for the Boy’; Matt Barton and Liza Bohannon Allen dancing to Footloose; Ryan Duke and David Hawkins dancing to ‘Rockin’ Robin’; and Lynn Whittenburg and Trey Pierson.
At the end of each performance, top hats were passed around the audience to collect money to count as votes. One vote cost $1, and voting was cut off for each couple and could not be revisted after judges gave their scores and comments.
At the conclusion of the dancers performances, Harbin introduced Tracy Farriba, one of the original dancers chosen to compete in 2013. Farriba suffered a major injury from a fall and recently completed rehab.
“Tracy was released from rehab last week and we would have loved watching her dance across this stage, but watching her walk was even more important,” said Harbin to the crowd.
Micheal Clark’s daughter, Katie, stepped in when Farriba was injured.
Next, the dancers from 2012 Dancing with the Stars came out onto the stage. Team Jim Lay and Michele Taylor were the winners for the inaugural event, which saw more than $106,000 raised for United Way in 2012.
There were many firsts at the 2013 Dancing with the Stars event, such as the first married couple with Jenny and Clint Hayes, the first father daughter couple with Micheal and Katy Clark, as well as the first time more than $116,000 was raised.
Four of the eight teams raised more than $10,000 each with a combined total of $89,372.51 from all 16 dancers. Also contributing to the grand total was the $27,000 in ticket sales.
Jon Gaines was responsible for lights and sound and Sarah Husser marketed the event, and United Way Director Vickie Spence says she is already looking forward to next year.
“We were worried after the success from last year that we couldn’t do it again, so this year we were blown away by the success and we wonder what we can do to make it better,” said Spence. “Every year we don’t think we can top the previous, and they do.”
A video of the event is being created by Sonoraville High School students again this year and are available for $20 with all proceeds benefiting the video production class. Contact Vickie Spence at United Way to order at 706-602-5548.