A Night of Stars: Dancers Raise Big Bucks for Mentoring Programs

The Pilot – January 13, 2010

From graceful ballroom dancing to the shag to the lindy hop, 38 of Moore County’s most prominent residents strutted their stuff Saturday night to benefit Communities in Schools and Moore Buddies.

The event took place at Pine Needles Conference Center and raised $110,000 for the two mentoring organizations.

The dancing duo of Cathy Smith and Pat McGowan took top honors in the voting for their disco performance to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”

(Votes came in the form of monetary donations for each couple both before and during the show.)

The other top three finishers in the voting were George and Wanda Little, shagging to the beach music tune “I Don’t Want Nobody,” Sen. Harris Blake and Dr. Susan Purser, who glided through a foxtrot to “You’re Easy to Dance With,” and Susie Leader and Nelson Neil, who rocked out to the Dave Clark Five’s version of “Do You Love Me?”

The event was emceed by Jim Dodson, editor of PineStraw.

Judges for the competition were Grady Little, a former MLB manager, who has recently moved from Pinehurst to Charlotte; Dr. John Dempsey, president of Sandhills Community College; and Steve Bouser, editor of The Pilot.

Roxanne Leopper and Jack Nance kicked off the evening with a dance to “Footloose.”

Judge Bouser commented that Janeen Driscoll and Paul Harkness gave a “classy performance” for their waltz to “Moon River.”

One of the most intriguing offerings of the evening was by Southern Pines Police Chief John Letteney and District Attorney Maureen Krueger, who danced to “Bad Boys” (the theme from “Cops”), provoking the comment from Bouser that their performance was “arresting.”

A line dance from Eve Avery and Jim Byrd, complete with surprise ending, wowed the crowd.

“I thought I was back at Gilley’s in Houston, Texas,” said Judge Grady Little.

Cathy and Larry Hinton’s performance to “Kansas City” received the first three perfect scores from the judges.

Karen Backall and Ray Metzger danced to “Mambo No. 5.”

An alternative dance by Julia Eden-Blanks and Dr. Jefferson Kilpatrick also garnered “10s” from the judges.

Ellen Pearsall and Charlie Jackson were described as “smooth and elegant” as they danced to “Come Fly With Me.”

A waltz to “Nights in White Satin” was the choice of Stephen Later and Diana Turner-Forte, while Patrick Coughlin and Patti Zoellner did a hip-hop swing number to “I’ve Got Rhythm.”

Severine and Jeff Hutchins did a rumba while Baxter and Taylor Clement lindy hopped to “Jump, Jive and Wail.”

“I haven’t seen moves like that in Converse All Stars since Bob Cousy,” said Judge John Dempsey of Baxter Clement’s performance.

Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” was the choice of Sherry Wood and Christopher Godfrey as they foxtrotted across the stage.

Southern Pines Mayor Mike Haney and Linda Pearson, danced to “Take Me to the River.”

It was back to the 1970s with Kristen Palmer and Rich Rushforth as they did the hustle.

As the votes were counted Jane Jackson, and George Trail provided some special entertainment.

“Tonight each of you have the chance to be a part of a child’s success,” said Chrissy Connelley, of Moore Buddies. “Thank you for being here and caring so deeply about the kids of Moore County. The real winners will be the kids.”

Contact Faye Dasen at fdasen@thepilot.com or (910-693-2475.