With few more than the dancers and those necessary to broadcast the event present Friday night in Hulman Center, 2020’s iteration of Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars stood in stark contrast with event’s of year’s past.
But the core tenets of the event — dancing and fundraising — remained the same.
Now in its 14th year, Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars has raised more than $1.9 million for Chances and Services for Youth, with a little more than $169,000 of that coming from Friday night’s event.
Molly Pabst was crowned champion for raising the most money among this year’s contestants. Carlene Sakbun came in second and Jennifer Mullen-Perry came in third.
Cache Ellis was crowned judges’ choice.
Money raised by the stars is used to fund CASY programs like: After School, Camp Rave, Safe Kids/Car Seats, Teen Court, Tobacco Prevention, iLEAD and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Wabash Valley.
Brandon Halleck, CASY COO and owner of The Dance Studio in Terre Haute, said it can’t be overstated how important the money raised by the dancers is to CASY and its mission, especially in a year that has effected so many.
“Our after school program, our summer camp, Big Brothers and Big Sisters mentoring program, child passenger safety program, all depend on the money we raise from this event,” Halleck said.
“And that’s why it’s so vital we’re still out here fundraising.”
And while the $169,000 is far less than the record $250,000 raised at last year’s show, Halleck said it’s that much more impressive that the dancers were able to achieve what they did given this year’s circumstances.
“I am thrilled with the $169,000,” Halleck said. “And when you consider how much we lost in ticket sales and not being able to have people here in person, what a credit this year’s effort is to our dancers and the community members who’ve opened their wallets during a pandemic.
“All things considered, this has been a rock star year.”
Pabst, owner of Common Ground CrossFit and Yoga, said she was nervous about the fundraising aspect of the competition, but said she had great people come through for her in a tough year.
“I have to give all the credit to my coworkers,” Pabst said. “They helped me so much with so many events and pull this off. It was an awesome experience altogether.”
And to bring that money in for the youth of the community, Pabst said, made all the effort worth it.
“At the gym I try to help kids in our community by running the CrossFit for Kids program and trying to get underprivileged kids in there to see what fitness is all about,” Pabst said.
“And this is just another way to give back and show this community really does care about everyone.”
Also participating in this year’s Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars: Chris Olds, Greg Sloan, Alex Kor, Stacey Dorman, Molly Barrett, Lindsay Hunter, Taylor Johnson and Tiffany Woodward.
Past winners include Danny Tanoos, Neil Ward, Jenny Newlin, Natalie Overton, Terri McGuire, Amy Anderson, Kim Perkins, Marla Flowers, Keith Lee, Todd Newman, Deidre Metzinger, Jocelyn Bean and Jessica Cox.
Reporter Alex Modesitt can be reached at 812-231-4232 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TribStarAlex.