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BLUE RIDGE-OAKLAND: Community plays games to support Big Brothers Big Sisters

Thursday, October 20, 2011 | 10:53 p.m. CDT; updated 7:25 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 21, 2011
Gene DeVore, left, organizes M&M's into cups as Justin Light, middle, observes and Curt Kempf yells which color cup to put the candy in Thursday night at the Whiskey Wild Saloon. DeVore and Kempf competed in the Minute to Win It BIG fundraiser as Rotary South's team, In It to Win It. Proceeds from the event went to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Columbia.

COLUMBIA — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri hosted a new fundraising event, Minute to Win It BIG at Whiskey Wild Saloon on Thursday.

Each attending team raised $300 to participate and played games based on the game show "Minute to Win It", Ellie Rempel, Americorps Vista development assistant, said. Competitors played minute-long dexterity games with everyday items.

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At the semifinals a week ago, 16 teams competed. On Thursday, eight teams remained.

The event raised an estimated $17,000, Rempel said. The money will go toward events for kids and helping maintain adult-child matches.

“The whole premise is that the game doesn’t take special tools, it doesn’t take long and anyone can play,” Rempel said. “That is the message we’re trying to send: You don’t have to be a superhero or have hours of time to give up to help with Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

“We have a variety of people, which is great,” she said. “Bob’s Babes are women in their 30s, while groups like Faster Than You and Done in 60 Seconds are just out of college.”

Four teams moved on to a final round to compete in games involving stacking snack cakes on their foreheads and shaking candy from one bottle to another.

The team Bob's Babes for Bigs won the final competition and earned 16 tickets to a Déjà Vu Comedy Club party and a $100 gift card to Geisha Sushi Bar. Faster Than You followed in second, and Docs for Bigs took third.

The event replaced Bowl for Kids' Sake, a past Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri fundraiser. Bowl for Kids' Sake raised about $38,000 in 2010, Georgalu Swoboda, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri, said.

Because Whiskey Wild Saloon serves alcohol, admission was limited to people age 18 or older. Rempel said a lot of thought was put into making the change.

“What’s come with it is a different demographic,” Rempel said. “The fundraiser has drawn young professionals, people who are going to potentially be matches later on.”

The event was sponsored by Boone County National Bank, VA Mortgage Center, Plaza Real Estate Services, the Downtown Optimist Club, Atkins, Labor Ready, Rotaract Club of Columbia, Fletcher Honda, American Eagle Outfitters, KPLA/101.5, "Inside Columbia Magazine," Shakespeare’s Pizza and Whiskey Wild Saloon.

Kurt Drennen Mirtsching, manager at Shakespeare’s Pizza, competed with some of his employees in the game show. Drennen Mirtsching was matched with his "Little," Ian, through Big Brothers Big Sisters 10 months ago. He said Shakespeare’s Pizza has been working with the organization for years and came out to show support.

“There’s a lot of things you can sponsor and a lot of things you can give money to, but helping kids is really a great cause,” Drennen Mirtsching said.


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