Taking Center Stage: Locals Dance For Moore County Children

Triathlons, football and professional golf all take extreme physical prowess, focus, dedication and determination. Donna Andrews, Chris Metzger, Alicia Hill, John Krahnert III, Patrick Mincey, Darrel Simpkins and their dance partners understand the importance of these skills. They will take these athletic skills onto the dance floor Jan. 30, in the second annual Dancing with the Sandhills Stars fundraiser to support mentoring programs in Moore County. Along with other local celebrities, these sports fanatics will be dancing at the Carolina Hotel to support the two major mentoring programs in Moore County, Communities In Schools and Moore Buddies. The benefit is patterned after the popular TV show. In the weeks leading up to the event, all of the competing couples will gather bvotes,b sold for only $10 per bvote.b The dance couple with the most bvotesb will win the competition. Last yearbs event raised more than $100,000 for the two local nonprofit mentoring organizations.

Donna Andrews and Chris Metzger are fierce competitors and plan to bring this competitive drive to the dance floor as dance partners. Andrews played on the LPGA Tour for 15 years, did commentary for ESPN and now teaches golf as lead instructor at Pine Needles Golf Resort. She also is ready for action at all times, managing a household with two young children. This six-time winner on the LPGA Tour plans to take her athletic skills off the golf course and onto the dance floor to win the dancing championship.

Chris Metzger is used to building the competitive spirit in young people as the head football coach for Pinecrest High School. Metzger uses athletics as a tool to help kids. He understands the importance of fostering self-esteem in young people and sees mentoring programs for our local teens as a great cause. Other than dancing at his wedding, Metzger has no previous dance training. He will be relying on his drive to win in order to bring in the most votes.

Alicia Hill and John Krahnert III are both sports fanatics. Hill teaches physical education at Sandhills Community College and coaches the volleyball team, which went to the national tournament this year. Krahnert does his work off the field, as the sports editor for The Pilot. As dance partners, they each bring special talents to the competition. Hill was a member of the Highfalls clogging team, traveling across North Carolina to compete and even clogging for Gov. Jim Hunt.

Krahnert, while lacking dance training, is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, which takes grace, skill and focus, similar to dance. Plus, Krahnert says he does not mind embarrassing himself in front of hundreds of people. The Krahnert/Hill dance team is ready to win the competition and looks forward to giving back to the community.

Although known in their day jobs as an emergency room doctor and a criminal defense attorney, respectively, Dr. Darrel Simpkins and Patrick Mincey both have alter egos that take them out of the office and onto the road. Both men are triathletes. Triathletes must excel at three sports: running, swimming and biking. Emergency room physicians need to excel at moving from one medical case to another, never knowing what the next case may be.

Simpkins is ready for his next new case, dancing for the kids of Moore County. As a two-time North Carolina Triathlon champion, he says that he is up for the challenge. In addition, his wife, Jayne, teased that he did not know how to dance. So, true to form, Simpkins is out to show that he can.

When Patrick Mincey was 10 years old, he wanted to be Lebron James. Although that dream did not come true, Mincey has become a successful attorney at Van Camp, Meacham and Newman, PLLC, and a triathlete. When Mincey is not in the courtroom, he is training for triathlons. No doubt Mincey will take his courtroom and triathlon skills out onto the dance floor to win.

Simpkinsb and Minceybs dance partners, Beth St. John and Meredith Clifton, bring a softer side to their respective dance teams. St. John, Minceybs dance partner, is a real estate agent in Southern Pines and wife of Episcopal Day School headmaster Jay St. John. Unlike her partner, she never dreamed of becoming a champion athlete. She does, however, have an extraordinary triumph in her past. St. John was lost at sea for six days off the coast of Florida. Twenty-seven years after surviving this ordeal, she will use her strength and courage to head out onto the dance floor in front of more than 400 people and dance to raise money for Moore County children.

Clifton, Simpkinsb dance partner, is a retired teacher who spends a great deal of time volunteering in the Sandhills community. Many of her activities include childrenbs needs, such as her role as a board member for Prancing Horse and her work as a volunteer for Communities In Schools. Clifton is looking forward to the dance competition. bThis is a terrific project for such a worthwhile causeb&kids,b Clifton says. bEverybody wins.b Sixteen dance couples will be competing for the most votes.

Other dancers include Dan Askins, Danielle Hinesley, Justin Bode, Kathy Parson, Paul Dent, Heidi Dent, Rahmean Kamalbake, Carol Dowd, Chris Dunn, Karen Wicker, Caroline Eddy, Ben Eddy, Pete Gulley, Doris Smith, Dr. Phil Benton, Robyn James, Koley Keel, Michele Keel, Tony Paz, Peggy Miller, John Tampa and Julie Tampa. Voting for the dancers is taking place now up until the competition Jan. 30. Tickets to the event are also available for purchase.

For more information on the Dancing with the Sandhills Stars benefit or to cast your votes or to purchase tickets, visit the website at www.sandhillsstars.com or call Communities In Schools at (910)-295-1072.

Communities In Schools (CIS) is the nationbs leading community based organization helping kids stay in school, succeed in school and be better prepared for life. Moore Buddies matches youth to positive adult mentors to promote the development of healthy personal values and to provide families with education and techniques for building strong family bonds. Both organizations share the common goal of helping a child succeed through a relationship with a caring adult and are United Way agencies.