Dancers raise money for Best Buddies program

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Some big names in Salt Lake put on their dancing shoes tonight and took to the stage alongside some of their best buddies. Celebrities from Miss USA to Utah's first lady were there.

All the dancing at the Little American Ballroom tonight benefits the Best Buddies program. It's an international organization that teams people with an intellectual disability with volunteers who want to build lifelong friendships.

Dancers raise money for Best Buddies program

Four hundred pairs of eyes were on him, yet Branon Fredrickson said he was not one bit nervous. "I've been dancing about 10 years," he said.

In those years, Branon's not only perfected his dancing moves, but he's also built a close friendship with his best buddy, the organizer of tonight's event. "Lots of going out to dinner, going out places. We have a good time," Branon said.

Tonight's program raised money for the Best Buddies program, which now operates in 12 Utah high schools and four colleges, building lifelong friendships

Dancers raise money for Best Buddies program

Brett Branford said, "We went bowling, golfing. (We had) lots of fun."

Utah's first lady Mary Kaye Huntsman did the cha-cha with her partner, Rhead, who taught her the moves. He said she learned quickly.

Dancers raise money for Best Buddies program

Kelsey Neff choreographed her performance with Real Salt Lake mascot Leo the Lion. "I'm not going to mess up," Kelsey said. And she didn't.

Miss USA Crystle Stewart was less sure of herself and had a backup plan ready. "I said, ‘Brett, if we mess up, let's just start break dancing,'" she said.

But in the end there were no mistakes, just a lot of money raised and a lot of cheers.


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Sarah Dallof


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