As an orthopaedic surgeon, Mark Mudano made a fitting song choice of “Walk This Way” for his Effingham Dancing with the Stars routine.
Then he walked away with the trophy in the annual fundraiser for the Effingham Victim Witness Assistance Program.
Mudano and his partner Rachael Moore scored 29 out of a possible 30 points from the judges to tie retired schools superintendent Michael Moore and Tamara Tyre for first place. The teams performed their routines again and Mudano/Moore won based on audience applause.
“It’s a miracle,” Mudano said as he caught his breath.
Mudano also won the popular vote for having the most money donated, at more than $6,000.
Most importantly, the third annual Dancing with the Stars raised $15,132 for EVWAP. The organization provides assistance and support to victims and witnesses of violent crimes.
“This event was truly a collaboration of the community,” said EVWAP executive director Ann Resto. “My thanks go out to the stars who fundraised and worked so hard to make the show a success.”
Mudano said he suggested dancing to Aerosmith, a band he “always loved.” His partner, a professional dance instructor, came up with the costumes and choreography.
“Rachael was the genius. I was merely the tag-along she had to work with,” Mudano deadpanned. “I think I’ll keep my day job, but I have a new appreciation for what Rachael does. She’s a real pro.”
But Moore was quick to give Mudano credit for the effort he gave since they began practicing in June.
“He put a lot of hard work into this,” she said. “He took everything I gave him and he did it. He did a really good job.”
Also competing this year were Laura Bryant, Rushe Hudzinski, Cydney Long, Nancy Powell and Brittany Way.
Participants in the third Effingham Dancing with the Stars and their partners, along with their song and routine, were:
• Laura Bryant and Gene Tyre, “Rockin' Robin’” (swing)
• Rushe Hudzinski and Ken Howard, “Knock on Wood” (swing)
• Cydney Long and Hieu Le, “I Can’t Help Myself” (swing)
• Michael Moore and Tamara Tyre, “Old Time Rock and Roll” (swing)
• Mark Mudano and Rachael Moore, “Walk This Way” (cha-cha)
• Nancy Powell and Lionel Eady, “Get This Party Started” (hip-hop)
• Brittany Way and Al Duetsh, “Night Fever” (cha-cha)