Boot Skatin’ Benefit stars help raise money for St. Jude’s

Boot Skatin’ Benefit stars help raise money for St. Jude’s

By Brandon Reid, Assistant Editor

They partied like it was 1999.

“The Artist Formerly Known As” Rudy Galindo, the only man to hold World Junior titles in two disciplines (singles in 1987, pairs in 1988 with Kristi Yamaguchi), electrified the audience during the first half of the Champions for Charity On Ice 5th Annual Boot Skatin’ Benefit for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital March 13 at the MetroCentre.

Galindo offered his best Prince impersonation, appearing on ice dressed in a purple suit and wearing a fuzzy purple cape with “Rudy” written on the back in gold glitter. He performed to Prince’s “Purple Rain” and “1999,” tossing his cape into the audience, landing triple jumps, and finishing off his performance with his signature spin, appearing as if a high-strung top. Galindo performed the same routine two days later live on NBC’s Today show.

Nine-time French National Champion and five-time European Champion, the spring-loaded Surya Bonaly, delivered two performances landing three backflips and a few big jumps.

Former Olympic, European and World gold medalist Viktor Petrenko dazzled the audience in the second half of the show with his favorite program, done to Lou Bega’s Mambo No. 5. Petrenko performed the program with a female doll attached to the front of his costume, which served as his tango partner.

The acrobatic team of Vladimir Besedin and Oleksiy Polishuk performed as bull and matador, with the bull at one point traveling upside down on the matador’s head, supported by only an extended arm.

The show also featured performances by Nicole Bobek and pairs teams Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev and Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinim. Each skater or pair of skaters performed at least twice.

Local skating sensation and junior at Boylan Catholic High School Melissa Lind and the Chicago Jazz, Revolution and Rockford’s NOVA synchronized skating teams also performed at the event.

Four members of the Rockford IceHogs delivered a slap-stick routine, with one of the four minor-league hockey players dressed in a lacy pink apron sliding across the ice with an iron and ironing board. Members of Roscoe’s Kinnikinnick School choir performed with the opening and closing routines.

The event was produced by Cindy VanderWaal, who works in sales at Roper Whitney, and Sergio Canovas, founder of Skyeyes International.

VanderWaal said the skaters’ agents “love the show so much that they want to televise the event. It would be great for Rockford if they film here at the MetroCentre. Maybe more competitions would follow.”

VanderWaal said if the event were to be televised, more skaters such as Michelle Kwan and Philippe Candeloro may also participate.

This was the fifth year for the annual event, which has now raised more than $30,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Some of the skaters were paid for their appearances, but at a discounted rate. The Boot Skatin’ Benefit kicked off a weekend of events to help raise money for St. Jude’s, including a radiothon and auction hosted by WXXQ-98.5-FM radio.

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