Steamboat Dancing with the Stars returns Friday |

Steamboat Dancing with the Stars returns Friday

Luke Graham

PJ Wharton and Deb Curd work on their dance routine Tuesday afternoon at Sundance Studio for the third annual Steamboat Dancing with the Stars fundraiser. The show is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Strings Music Pavilion.

— PJ Wharton wants to apologize to his family.

Specifically to his wife, Amy, and the couple’s three sons.

As a local celebrity and participant in the third annual Steamboat Dancing With the Stars, the dance world and instructor Deb Curd have taken over his life.

"Amy has had to endure my dancing at all weird hours of the night," Wharton said. "She's had to endure that. The whole family has had to endure me showing them my slick new moves."

Wharton and Curd will compete against six couples consisting of local celebrities and experienced dancers at the event. The doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Strings Music Pavilion. Tickets are available at All That Jazz and cost $50 for one or $45 each for two or more. There will be a silent auction and light appetizers, and people also can donate money to their favorite star by clicking here.

For Wharton, who serves as the president of Yampa Valley Bank, dancing hasn't always come easy.

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He started working with Curd in December and said it's been pretty nonstop since. He wouldn't reveal what dance he will be doing, but he said to expect some thrilling moves and lots of rhinestones.

"This is as close to an Olympic competition as I'll see in my lifetime," he said. "I've gone from four left feet to two left feet. It's more than terrifying. I would be very comfortable doing a speech or presentation, but dancing in front of my 200 closest friends is terrifying. But with Deb's skills and tutoring, I might actually have a little bit of fun."

The first two Steamboat Dancing with the Stars events sold out and raised more than $25,000 each year for Northwest Rocky Mountain Court-Appointed Special Advocates. The nonprofit provides and organizes services that help abused and neglected children in the legal system.

CASA Executive Director Valerie McCarthy said the tremendous success of the first two years made it a sure thing the event would be back again.

The money raised is used to help support staff members recruit, train and supervise volunteers.

"We do it because it's successful and it's fun," McCarthy said.

Other celebrity dancers this year include Kim Haggarty, Sunny Owens, Chris Paoli, Sarah Coleman, Chris Adams and Mark Elliott.

There are two types of winners: a grand winner and popular choice. The grand winner is the collaboration that earns the most money. Last year's grand winner was Lisa Olson and Matt and Holly Blanchard.

The popular winner, determined by applause, was Kipp Rillos and Tamara Bereznak.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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