Last night’s inaugural Dancing with the Turlock Stars was a massive success and raised $27,880 from online and in-person votes for the Turlock Salvation Army. In total the entire event raised nearly $34,000 for Salvation Army.
"Our committee's goal to bring a lighthearted, feel good event to this community…the community completely responded,” said DWTTS organizer Kristin Bettencourt. “We are so appreciative."
The first ever winner of the Mirror Ball Championship for most money raised from votes was PMZ Realtor and former U.S. Marine Jerry Powell and professional dance partner Nicole Gordon-Couto.
Powell was a dancing machine with hypnotizing facial expressions and powerful gyrations that captivated the hearts of nearly 5,400 viewers watching via Central Valley TV’s live stream on TurlockCityNews.com and the more than 1,000 DWTTS attendees at the Assyrian American Civic Hall. The dance routine's playlist included a decade of mucic, ranging from Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" to Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" to Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll."
Between 10 p.m. and 11:45 p.m., more than 350 hours worth of viewing occurred via the live stream and viewers responded, boosting the Powell/Gordon-Couto vote total to over 770 votes, far and away the most of any couple.
Powell also won the Kim Kardashian “Selfie” Award for posting the most lucrative selfie shots on social media, many of which featured his less than Kardashian-esque backside.
Coming in second for most money raised was star Don Gonsalves and pro Stephanie Valgos, who were awarded with the 2014 Wrecking Ball Award for creating a buzz for their efforts.
The 2014 winner of the Judge’s Trophy was Modesto Police Captain Joel Broumas and professional dancer Amy Shamgochian, who performed a flawless Saturday Night Fever routine complete with arresting choreography in matching police officer costumes. The dangerously precise duo earned solid 10 from judges Kerry Rocha, Simon Anowia, and Lindsey Curry.
Runner up to Broumas and Amy Shamgochian was TUSD Special Education Director Jeff Santos and Amy’s daughter, Mackenzie Shamgochian, who earned two perfect 10s and a 9 thanks to a nearly perfect country music routine.
Yvonne Geiger and pro Xavier Huerta earned the Fred and Ginger Award for best chemistry after a sizzling salsa routine. Mayoral candidate Gary Soiseth and pro Gabrielle Aguiar-Forrest won the Style Icon Award for best dressed as they wore matching turquoise garments, her’s an unforgettable flapper dress.
Perhaps the most meaningful award of the night was the treasure trove of friendships built between stars and professional dance partners, many of them had never met each other before DWTTS.
Undeniably the most important accomplishment of the night goes to DWTTS' Bettencourt, who along with Committee Members spent countless hours working to ensure DWTTS was a success. From securing dance partners, to building a first-year sponsorship base, to rallying for votes and selling tickets, Bettencourt was the brains and brawn behind the entire sold-out event.
"We are thrilled with the outcome of the event!!!” said Bettencourt. “Our dancers DID NOT disappoint! They worked hard for weeks and truly dedicated themselves to this event. They brought so many different moves, styles and personalities…so impressive!”