Dancing with the Stars: Popular fundraiser goes virtual for its 10th year

Chuck Cerasoli and choreographer Deb Curd-Kinnecome perform a disco-inspired dance during the 2018 Dancing with the Stars fundraiser. (Courtesy photo)

In its 10th year, Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA’s annual Dancing with the Stars fundraiser is going virtual. The community is encouraged to vote for their favorite past star or year; when voting, a donation amount can be chosen.

In a normal year, the stars are local community members paired with choreographers who develop a dance routine and then coach the stars, typically for three to four months before the event. Money is raised not only through event sponsorships but also through voting, which normally opens online for each star one month before the performance. The night of the event gathers more donations and votes, and the winner of Dancing with the Stars is the star who has raised the most money.

The process will be similar this year; a vote for a favorite year or star equals a donation to Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA, an organization that provides court appointed advocates for at-risk children in Routt, Moffat and Grand counties.

“Dancing with the Stars is our largest fundraising event of the year,” said Lauren Rising, Routt County program coordinator for Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA. “This year, we’ve seen pretty dramatic increases in at-risk children in need of our services.”

Rising said that in 2020, the organization served 46 children in Routt, Grand and Moffat counties and saw a 125% increase in supervised visitations — a service that the organization provides — in the first quarter of 2021.

“I think one thing we’ve seen over the past year is that not everyone is safer at home, especially the children that we serve,” Rising said. “The pandemic has caused great strain on families, and that is reflected in our rising numbers of children served.”

This year, the organization set a goal to raise $80,000, which they hope to do through sponsorships and by asking each previous star to raise $1,000.

“I had such a great experience doing Dancing with the Stars that I joined the committee to continue to help raise money for Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA,” said Wendy Wade, a star in 2018. “We really had to brainstorm to come up with a fundraising idea since we could not hold the event this year. Since this would have been the 10th year, we decided to celebrate virtually with videos and highlights from past performances. The key to this fundraiser is our past stars, since they already have a heart for CASA.”

Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA’s website features a video hosted by longtime Dancing with the Stars emcee Gardner Flanigan, which shows snippets of past performances.

“Dancing with the Stars is such a beloved community event,” Rising said. “It is a night full of fun and laughs and all for a great cause. As much as we would have loved to get together this year or even hold a virtual live event with new stars and dancers, we didn’t feel comfortable asking our stars or choreographers to get together and dance considering the pandemic.”

Rising said that as of Monday, they have raised 37% of their fundraising goal. The year that raises the most money will be recognized at next year’s event.

The community can cast their votes by visiting

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.