To raucous support, six Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce volunteers shook their booties for charitable causes Saturday night.
Ken Blanchard, Suzy Baxter, Gregg Forszt, Bonnie Kampa, Paul Kappelman and Mary Snider raised $15,021, divided among the chamber and charities of their choice, during the “Dancing with the Stars” gala at the Hilton El Conquistador.
“It was the biggest event this chamber ever had, and the most successful” in terms of attendance and fund-raising, said Jane Cannon, a chamber staff veteran who is retiring later in November. A total of 430 people enjoyed the evening, and the staff was still tallying auction income Monday.
Snider, who danced the East Coast Swing with Adrian Vega and David Davis of American Dance, was deemed the best by judges Christine Daughenbaugh, Ron Montez and Jeannie Tucker.
Blanchard may have stolen the show, though.
Clad in 1970s white vest and white pants, the Edward Jones investment adviser high-stepped with and carried American Dance instructor Tasha Rogers to the BeeGees’ “More than a Woman” in a Saturday Night Fever homage.
“The first thing I want to clarify, I do not own this outfit,” Blanchard said when all the dancing was complete. “I wore something similar to the prom.”
In contrast, Forszt wore a tuxedo when he performed the classic fox trot with Rogers. He danced in front of his Purdue University fraternity brothers, who were vocal in their enthusiasm.
“I can’t remember the last time I saw moves like this,” said Judi Butcher, who chaired the event. “I know my body hasn’t done it since high school.”
The dancers raised money for the chamber, and for their charities – Kappelman, the Steve Engle Scholarship Fund; Forszt, the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council; Kampa, Interfaith Community Services; Baxter, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona; Blanchard, the Sunstone Cancer Support Center; and Snider, Project Graduation.
Gala committee members were Butcher, Monnie Applegate, Blanchard, Kathy Bower-Goodwill, Cannon, Ron Janicki, Andrew Keating and Sharon Lurtsema. Andrew Way was the auctioneer.