Attorney Bobby Guttridge awarded Dancing with Vero’s Stars Grand Prize

VERO BEACH — With feathers, fedoras and fancy footwork, Vero star dancers and their professional partners took to the stage after weeks of dedicated practice, to compete in the third annual Dancing With Vero’s Stars fundraiser to benefit the Healthy Start Coalition. 

At the end of the night, attorney Bobby Guttridge and his partner Karren Walter were awarded the coveted mirrored trophy ball as the 2011 Grand Prize Winners. Organizers have adapted to the event’s ever increasing popularity by adding elements and improvements each year.   To better showcase the dancers and accommodate a larger audience, the venue moved last year to the Saint Edward’s Waxlax Theatre. This year the cocktail party and intermission receptions were shifted to the school’s spacious Wachter Activity Center.

Dancers mingled with enthusiastic fans during the cocktail hour, receiving last minute encouragement and additional donations to boost to their overall scores.  Dancers are judged in equal parts by the money they raise, with each dollar equaling one vote, and the scores given by the judges.

The committee chooses star dancers who represent a diverse group of personalities and professions which also serves to attract a different audience dynamic each year.

“It’s a close race every year; right up to the last minute,” said Joe Robinson, who co-chaired the event with last year’s Grand Prize Winner Rebecca Emmons.  “A good dance can put you in the lead.  It’s always exciting to see the star dancers perform.  It’s not what they usually do, so it’s fun to watch.”

Once in the auditorium, emcee Hamp Elliott introduced returning judges Lance Sexton and Gretchen Rose, and new judge Adam Schnell, and then it was on to the competition.

Dr. Julie Goldstein, a marine veterinarian at Harbor Branch, and her partner James Martin drew the difficult first spot in a random drawing, leading off the competition with a lively Lindy Hop routine packed with flips and lifts.

Educator and philanthropist Judy Van Saun and partner Joe Tessier were next to take the stage, dancing a flirty Latin combination Paso Doble and Salsa that Rose remarked showed spunk.

Classy and controlled, David Croom, founder of Croom Construction and Patti Rooney glided across the stage in a graceful Foxtrot which the judges said captured the spirit of the dance.

In a sexy, fringed outfit, philanthropist Raquel Tilton danced the American Tango with Robert Scott, wowing the crowd at the end with a death drop that had her suspended over the floor.

Attorney Bobby Guttridge and Karren Walter charmed audience and judges with a playfully suave Foxtrot that the judges said showed great chemistry.

Jarrod Owen, an Insurance advisor at Warren Insurance, danced a terrific Salsa with Stefanie Conrado, at one point hoisting her onto his shoulder in one fluid swoop.

Graceful and poised, Susan Clay, from Vero Beach Dental Care, and Joseph Wynes danced a flirty Foxtrot and Lindy Hop combination the judges called totally classy from start to finish.

Using chairs as props in a creative entrance to their sexy Argentine Tango, Patrick Toole, President/CEO of the Toole Group and partner Shari Tessier packed their dance with style and emotion.

Former NFL Star and community activist Kenny Holmes and Beth Shestak were the last of the nine to compete, with an animated and jaunty Swing dance.

A brief intermission gave the audience a chance to stretch their legs and make final bids on silent auction items which included a guitar autographed by Tim McGraw and boxing gloves autographed by Floyd Mayweather.

Later, as votes were tallied, the audience was treated to showcase dances by several of the professional dance pairs.  And then the moment everyone was waiting for arrived.

The Top Fundraiser Award was presented to Judy Van Saun, who broke all previous records, raising more than $23,000 for the organization.  There was a three-way tie in judges’ votes for Top Dancer, with Patrick Toole, Susan Clay and Bobby Guttridge, each amassing 28 points.

The trophy for Second Runner-up was awarded to Susan Clay and her partner Joseph Wynes. First Runner-up trophy went to Jarrod Owen and partner Stefanie Conrado, and the Grand Prize Winners were Bobby Guttridge and his partner Karren Walter.

Funds raised benefit the Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition, which provides programs that guarantee all pregnant women have access to prenatal and infant services.

“After the dance is over, the needs will still be there; and so will we,” said Executive Director Leslie Spurlock. {igallery 357}

Related Articles

Comments are closed.