Brandon Anderson is likely to have a very happy birthday this Thursday.
The firefighter, who battled back from a leg amputation following a motorcycle accident, is the 2018 Dancing with the Shelby County Stars champion.
Anderson and his dance partner/coach, Ainsleigh Rund, walked away with the mirror ball trophy at the dance competition held Saturday night at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.
Well actually, Anderson hopped a little bit.
The pair ended their jazz dance with him removing his artificial right lower leg which Rund then held aloft as the crowd cheered.
She said she offered, but Anderson didn’t want to do an easier routine.
“He’s like, ‘We’re gonna do this,’ and he did it,” Rund told the capacity crowd.
2018 is the seventh year for the Dancing with the Shelby County Stars, a fundraising event to aid Shelby Senior Services and the Shelby County Players theatre group.
Ten teams competed this year, performing dances that ranged from the fox trot to hip hop. Co-hosts Angela Gill, executive director of the Major Hospital Foundation, and Rafael Sanchez, from RTV-6 News, welcomed the audience of nearly 400.
“Congratulations Shelby County. It’s great to see people doing the right stuff,” said Sanchez.
Gill said over the previous six years, Dancing with the Shelby County Stars has raised more than $550,000.
Each of the dance teams raise money on their own prior to the dance competition and are judged based on how much they raised.
Anderson and Rund, this year’s champions, raised $9,217.
In total, all the dancers together brought in $60,330 .. .and 23 cents.
And it didn’t stop there.
“In between each dance, we’ll have people passing hats,” Gill told the crowd.
Funds were still being counted, so an overall total dollar amount raised by the 2018 Dancing with the Shelby County Stars is not yet tallied.
Besides the money they bring in, dancers are judged by a “celebrity” panel of three local experts in having a good time.
Jordan Caldwell was in character as President Donald Trump, complete with wig and imitation of the president’s speaking mannerisms.
Dick Dovidas wore what most hoped was a wig – it had curlers in it – while Kari Kermode, seated between them, tried to maintain some sense that this was all normal.
Anderson, the firefighter, wasn’t the only dancer to come back from a physical challenge.
Rev. Mark Morningstar suffered a stroke last year, but did a fine job in his tap dance with partner/coach Lauren Coleman.
The crowd was saddened to hear it announced that Dave Fisher and Sally Dooley wouldn’t be able to perform, but delighted when Santa and Mrs. Claus (Fisher and Dooley in costume) took their place.
Some of the biggest rounds of applause went to Sam Terrell and his partner/coach Laney Grady for their hip hop routine, and also to Angela Yeend and partner/coach Keaton Kermode who danced to the theme from the movie, “Footloose.”
Those teams, along with overall winners Anderson and Rund, won awards for entertainment value.
Capping the night, the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to Anderson.