When Chuck Madson was announced as the judge’s pick for the Mirror Ball trophy following this year’s Dance Lompoc competition, the local substance abuse and treatment counselor admitted he was shocked.
The event, held Saturday at the Anderson Recreation Center, was Madson’s first time performing a dance routine — at least publicly — and he indicated afterward that it will likely also be his last.
“I’ve decided to retire my cape while I’m ahead,” he said.
Madson’s win was one of several highlights from the fundraising event, which was put on by the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce and featured dance performances from six local “celebrities” who teamed with instructors from area dance studios to raise money for nonprofits of their choosing.
Overall, the event drew about 200 spectators and raised $18,326 for the various nonprofit organizations, making it a “huge success,” according to Amber Wilson, the president/CEO of the Lompoc chamber.
“The dancers are really the heartbeat of this event and their dedication and hard work was evident with a packed house and fundraising efforts at an all-time high,” Wilson said.
Madson, a director for Coast Valley Substance Abuse Treatment Centers, wasn’t the only winner of the night.
Stacy Lowthorp, a co-owner of South Side Coffee Co., won the award for most money raised for her nonprofit, which was the Lompoc Theatre Project. Lowthorp brought in more than 70 percent of the overall fundraising total by racking up $12,396 in donations.
The other participants (and the nonprofit they supported) were:
- Hancock College President Kevin Walthers (The Hancock Promise);
- Grocery Outlet co-owner Alix Crocker (Shadow’s Fund);
- Lompoc Fire Chief Gerald Kuras (Fire-Velo Cycling Club); and
- Lompoc Police Capt. Deanna Clement (Hats for Hope).
Madson supported a game room renovation project planned for the Lompoc Boys and Girls Club.
The participating dance studios included Boscutti Ballet Theatre, The Alley Project and Garcia Dance Studio. In addition to training the "celebrity" dancers, the studios also showcased some of their own performers and dance styles during exhibition routines Saturday night.
Madson credited his instructor/partner Katrina Ryker, from Garcia Dance Studio, for remaining “extremely patient with my lack of experience.” He acknowledged afterward that his and Ryker’s performance was very nearly doomed before it began.
“The nerves had set in about five minutes before (taking the stage) and I almost thought I had forgotten the whole routine,” Madson said.
While Madson said he doesn’t plan to continue dancing anytime soon, he noted that he had a great time.
“The chamber worked hard; Central Coast Specialty Foods outdid themselves with the dinner; Michael Carroll was the greatest emcee; and a lot of money was raised for so many great causes,” he said. “(I’m) grateful to be included in such an amazing event.”
Crocker had a similar assessment.
“It was an amazing experience,” she said. “It was a blast to learn, and equally as fun performing. The event was beautiful and we are so looking forward to attending as guests next year.”
Danielle Honea, communications and program director for the Lompoc chamber, said that plans are already underway for next year’s competition.
“We already have a few eyes on target for dancers for next year and, also, welcome suggestions from the community,” she said.
Honea indicated this year’s event will be difficult to top.
“I got to individually speak to all the dancers the weeks prior to the event, and not one of them wasn’t nervous — yet once they got onstage, they each rocked their performance,” she said. “Stacy had props on the stage, and her hair and outfit was amazing, and Chuck Madson even flipped his dancer in the air.
"The crowd was also extremely fun," she added. "They were yelling, hooting and hollering.”
Masson Blow took the Mirror Ball trophy in the first Dance Lompoc event in 2017.