Ten area celebrities showed their star power Tuesday night, raising $23,089 for Barton Community College through the "Dancing with the Barton Stars" competition.
The couple that raised the most money was the team of Lynda Jamison, assistant vice president and lending officer at Sunflower Bank, paired with Mark Mingenback, president and executive director of Central Kansas Medical Center’s CKMC Foundation Inc.
Mingenback also raised the most money of any of the male contestants, while Allene Owen brought in the most among female contestants. Owen, a member of the Great Bend City Council and manager and cosemetologist at Renue Salon & Spa, danced with Jo Harrington, a math instructor at the college.
Team members spent six to eight weeks learning their two-minute dance routines for Tuesday’s show, working with local dance instructors. Audience members were invited to "vote often," with each dollar raised counting as one vote. Dancers also raised money in the weeks leading up to the competition.
Jemelle Holopirek, news anchor at KAKE TV’s "Good Morning Kansas," and Scott Donovan, afternoon DJ at Eagle Country radio in Great Bend, presented the dancers: Steve Webster of Eagle Radio and Rachel Mawhirter from the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce; Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman and Jan Westfall from Great Bend Regional Hospital; Mingenback and Jamison; Great Bend High School theater instructor Dan Heath and GBHS teacher’s aide Melanie Calcara; and Harrington and Owen.
Miss Kansas Lauren Werhan spoke and performed her ballet dance from the Miss America competition in 2010. There were also behind-the-scenes videos with the couples, and performances from performing arts students at Barton: The 2011 Barton National Dance routine performed by the Barton Dance Group, Brook Smith on violin, Barton Hilltop Singers and a dance by Haley Johnson.
The money will go toward renovating Barton’s 40-year-old Fine Arts Auditorium. Dr. Richard Abel, dean of academics and president of the Barton County Arts Council, thanked audience members for filling most of the auditorium’s 800 seats. "I’m so excited that you folks are here tonight," he said. "While other institutions are cutting back on the arts, we’re not."