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Meet the dancers and the judges of this year’s Dancing with the Stars of Casper

Dance Couple for Dancing with the Stars (Mercer Family Resource Center Contributed)

“A villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told.” ~Chris Colfer

You have a chance to hear the story of several villains by attending the 11th Annual Dancing with the Stars of Casper, benefitting the Mercer Family Resource Center, on Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. at the Ford Wyoming Center. The evening includes a plated meal, a friendly dance competition featuring community leaders, and spirited bidding on a variety of silent and live auction packages. This year, our “Stars of Casper” will perform professionally choreographed routines with a villain theme, hoping to win votes for the People’s Choice Award! The arena stage will be exploding with vile dance moves by villains from across all cities. Be sure to vote for your favorite evil dance moves at https://one.bidpal.net/dancing2021/browse/donation.

Introducing the Dancers:

Dance Couple #1: Ryan McConnaughey with Petroleum Association of Wyoming and Kelly Walsh Assistant Cheer Coach Katrina Lorenzen with Meals on Wheels Foundation. Ryan likes to bust a move to “Fishin’ in the Dark” by twisting up into his signature dance move, the pretzel. He was inspired to dance for Mercer because “coming off of the pandemic, community is more important than ever and Mercer is doing such a great job. Dancing is just a small way to help.” Katrina wants your People’s Choice vote because “I’m fun loving and my partner is awesome! Our dance is going to be VILLAMAZING!”

Dance Couple #2: County Commissioner Brook Kaufman with Visit Casper and Larry Wilson with Greiner Ford and Secure Gunz Security. Brook told Mercer that she “dances almost every morning in my bathroom.” She wanted to be a part of this event because “the population Mercer serves is vast and the services they offer positively impact 300+ lives every year.” Brook’s favorite childhood villain was Cruella de Vil, as “she always made being a villain look fashionable and elegant.” Larry wants your vote for People’s Choice because “Why not? All jokes aside, I have a talented and extremely motivated partner as well as a wonderful choreographer, and we are going to bring it!”

Dance Couple #3: Author Casey Rislov with Fairgrounds Homes and Kyle Ridgway with Wyoming Financial Group. Casey is ready to storm the stage at DWTS because “I value their mission of strengthening families. They [have educated and counseled] youth and families for 50 years now.” Casey said: “I would say, as a child I was afraid of the villains. The ones that were introduced to me and I remember the most were the Evil Queen in Snow White (1937 film) and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty (1959 film).” Kyle told Mercer, “My partner and I will give an entertaining show and will put on a cold-blooded performance executed perfectly.”

Dance Couple #4: Hunter Harmelink with the Michael Houck Real Estate Team and Clare Taylor-Ingram with Dance Evolutions, Inc. Hunter said that “My talent was sold to the highest bidder at last year’s DWTS and now I have an excuse to raise money for an amazing organization.” Hunter told Mercer, “Who needs a song to bust a move? That being said, something about ‘Genie in a Bottle’ by Christina Aguilera really gets me moving.” Hunter wants your vote because, “A vote for me as People’s Choice is also a vote for Mercer Family Resource Center.” Clare was delighted to perform for Mercer because “My home studio, Dance Evolutions, Inc., has performed the opening number multiple times, and it is such a great event to support and watch.”

Dance Couple #5: Scott Murray with Williams, Porter, Day & Neville, P.C and Heidi Lundberg with Rising Star Tumbling & Dance Studio. Scott told Mercer, “When I got the call about dancing, I had to say ‘yes’ before my brain had the chance to interject with important facts like, ‘you’re not a dancer’ or ‘you’ll look like a fool.’ But knowing the important work done by Mercer FRC, I couldn’t say no.” Scott’s favorite childhood villain was, “the Joker from the Batman movies because he was funny, edgy, and frightening at the same time.” Heidi was inspired to dance for Mercer because “An opportunity such as this, which combines my love of dance and community, is one that I could never pass up.” Heidi wants your vote for People’s Choice because, “A vote from my community friends would be the cherry on top.”

Dance Couple #6: Barbara True with True Companies and Aaron Walters with Rising Star Tumbling and Dance Studio. Barbara decided to take center stage for Mercer because “DWTS is a creative way to engage with the community and support this valuable nonprofit for Casper. It’s always so fun to challenge yourself in new ways.” Barbara wants your vote because “This is a giant leap outside of my comfort zone and this is for a great cause that has a widespread impact in our local community.” Aaron likes to move and grove to “’Peaches’ by Presidents of the United States. Best song ever!” Aaron favorite villain as a child was “Freddy Krueger; I used to love the gore.”

Introducing the Judges:

Judges for Dancing with the Stars (Mercer Family Resource Center Contributed)

Kendall Bryce — Lincoln financial advisor shared, “My ability to judge dance moves far exceeds my ability to perform said dance moves. Out of respect for past dancers, I will remain on the sidelines.”

Jason DeWitt — Casper Area Chamber of Commerce was inspired to join the judges panel because of “My lack of rhythm. Additionally, when I learned that panel would be stacked with Zak Pullen (Simon Cowell) and Kendall Bryce (Paula Abdul), I could not wait to bring my judgement to the event.”

Zak Pullen — artist and illustrator said, “My inspiration was the flip-side of dancing. I’m inspired to enjoy the evening without the nerves of center stage and a spotlight.” 

Alisha Rone — Child Development Center shared, “Mercer Family Resources is an amazing organization. I recognize that they serve many of the same families that we do at the Child Development Center and want to support them in all that they do.”

Mark Bower — Wyoming Machinery Company decided to take the sidelines and “join the judges panel after postponing my debut as a dancer after suffering bilateral Achilles tendon injuries” — but don’t worry: he will be back!

Dr. Caleb Wilson — Wyoming Otolaryngology was inspired to be a judge for Mercer because “I have attended the Dancing with the Stars of Casper for years and I believe in the mission of the Mercer Family Center. I am really honored to be a small part of the show.”

Mercer Family Resource Center provides education, counseling, and prevention services that build stronger and healthier youth and families in our community. In our vision to build a unified community with strong families and healthy youth, the nonprofit agency provides family and parenting education, adult and youth intervention, and community connections that are proactive, impactful, and accessible to anyone in the community! For more information, please visit www.mercercasper.com.

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