KEARNEY — Ballroom dancing may look easy, but Bob Lammers learned just how complex it can be.
“I’ve always enjoyed dancing at wedding receptions and things like that,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it over the years. This is a lot more complex than just going to a wedding reception dance.”
Lammers, along with his dance partner, Marion McDermott, stopped by CountryHouse Residences for Memory Care on April 21 to demonstrate their dance moves for Kearney’s Dancing with the Stars. The fundraising event, presented by Kearney Dawn and the Kearney Noon Rotary Clubs, will pit six couples against each other in a competition at 8 p.m. Saturday at Younes Conference Center.
Tickets to the Dancing with the Stars gala event are $100-$125.
Lammers and the other dancers began practicing in November.
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“We’ve practiced with our professional instructors about an hour one day a week, and then we practiced on the side for an additional hour once a week,” Lammers said. “We’ve been doing various steps. It’s a nice, elegant ballroom kind of dance with a little foxtrot and rumba.”
Dance fans who will not be attending the gala can participate by voting online through 4 p.m. Saturday. Each vote costs $10. The proceeds from Dancing with the Stars will benefit five central Nebraska nonprofits plus Rotary International.
Rotary member Jeff Warren, one of the organizers of the event, said in a previous interview that providing funds to help the nonprofit groups also helps the community.
“Our goal is to raise $100,000,” he said. “Each cause stands to make 15 percent. There’s a good chance all of these causes could take home $15,000 or more than that. Hopefully, we make more.”
Lammers found ballroom dancing more of a challenge than he expected.
“Ballroom dancing is a lot more difficult than it looks,” he said. “Everything is choreographed. You’re taking so many steps this way and that way. In the past, when we’ve danced, we just sort of flowed and did what we felt like doing at the time.”
The structure of the dance routine keeps Lammers — and his dance partner, McDermott — focused.
On the website for Dancing with the Stars, Lammers lists his favorite dance memory as “The night I met my wife, Feb. 28, 1975.”
Beyond the competition and the fun, all the participants understand the true meaning of the event — to raise money for nonprofit causes.
Warren wanted to try a different type of fundraiser for the event.
“Everybody has a golf tournament or a fun run,” he said. “This just brings an entirely different perspective. It’s unique and people enjoy watching local celebrities get up and, hopefully, leave their heart on the dance floor. That’s all we ask. We don’t care how good they are, we just want them to do their best and raise money. It’s good, clean, healthy fun.”
Lammers understands the importance of raising money for good causes.
“I’m not a Rotary Club member,” he said. “I’m a Sertoma Club member, which is another service club in town. The Rotary has a really good cause going on, and they asked me to participate and I thought, what the heck.”
As the former chairman of the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, co-chairman of the United Way of the Kearney Area fund drive and chairman of the Gateway Farm Expo, Lammers has a certain name recognition.
“A lot of people have known me over 40 years of community service,” he said.