With more than $6,000 raised for the first-year Brownwood Rotary Club Dancing with the Stars fundraiser, a return in 2020 is all but assured.
Brownwood Rotary Club President Don Roberts described the event as an overwhelming success, which featured six contestants from as many public and private organizations competing for best performance and most money raised.
“We had no idea we would get this many people. We picked up this idea from Colleyville, who had been doing it for 12 years,” Roberts said. “We decided it was a good thing to try and it has turned out remarkably well. We definitely will make it annually. We learned a lot this year and it will be a lot smoother next year.”
Landry and Joy Renee Blackstock, representing Brownwood ISD, took home the trophy for best performance following their routine to Elvis Presley’s ‘All Shook Up’ with Landry sporting the King’s classic pompadour and bedazzled jumper. Russ and Kendra Bryan, representing 3M, won for most money raised and kicked off the night’s performances with a dance-rendition of Little Richard’s ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’. The Patty Harper Studio of Abilene choreographed all of the performance, which Roberts found serendipitous considering her wife danced at Patty Harper Studio decades ago.
“We had no idea we would get this kind of support, and the additional support of 3M and them coming out to support their dancer,” Roberts said. “It was the same thing with Bostick’ s [Auto and Truck Sales]. It’s really a credit to what we’re giving this money too. It’s excellent. Unless we can raise local money, there is not much as can do to help the various non-profit organizations. By raising money like this, we can also participate in international projects.”
The funds raised Friday night will go to the rotary’s support of various organizations including: Brownwood Education Foundation, the Early Independent School District, CASA in the Heart of Texas, The Ark, Meals on Wheels, college scholarships for area students and student dictionaries. Other performers including Brownwood Country Club Owner Steve Baker, whose business hosted the event, father-daughter team Mashari and Harold Hogan with Bostick’s, Early High School football coach/athletic director Blake Sanford and his wife Kim, who also serves as a teacher for Early ISD; and Joseph and Laura Tilley representing 3M and the Heartland Association of Realtors respectively. The show also featured area Wendlee Broadcasting General Manager Rex Tackett as master of ceremonies, local country music artist Kyler Dean and Carol Roberts performing her show ‘Gay Nineties Nostalgia’.
“Years ago we met at a dance club, but no formal dancing,” said Laura Tilly, who received dance lessons from the Patty Harper Studio with salsa-based choreography designed by PHS dancer Gretchen Bullock. “We would go out to a salsa dancing on occasion, but nothing like this. This was amazing. We loved Gretchen. She was phenomenal. We were a little nervous … Once we got into it, it went really smooth.”