Scene In Passing: Shirk dance practice? Not this supervisor

Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly wannabes got a lesson from Jim Shirk, Carson City supervisor and real estate pusher, who scored big in his debut as a star in the arena of hoofer hoopla.

Lessons also were handed out by Shirk to a tango tackler and disco dabbler named Robert Crowell and Charlie Abowd, respectively, in a recent dance competition modeled after a TV series. Mayor Crowell, whose day job is lawyering, and Abowd, Cafe at Adele’s co-owner and chef, watched Shirk waltz off (sort of) with plaudits and a trophy at last month’s Dancing with the Stars event in the Carson High School gymnasium.

“I’m looking at the trophy right here in my office,” Shirk said with relish when he was called recently to chat about the outcome. He praised his partner, Robin Kato, a local teacher and dancer/performer, saying a good time was had by all — particularly the winning pair.

“We got across-the-board 9.5 points from the judges,” he crowed while describing the ballroom-dance routine and the pair’s ability to push the envelope of a scoring system in which tops was 10. He said he and Kato had practiced regularly to prepare for the Feb. 22 fundraiser, which was held to benefit Western Nevada College nursing students.

“I had a blast,” said Shirk. “It was fun.”

Fire Chief Stacey Giomi was the master of ceremonies and Sheriff Ken Furlong was one of the commentators, the latter a role Furlong assumed after an arm injury took him out of the competition. In those chattering roles, the city’s public-safety leaders proved beyond any doubt that they’re better silver-tongued devils than silver-hoofed hoofers.

Among the other star contenders was Mayor Crowell’s spouse, Susan, who acquitted herself splendidly and did it in a stunning dress that, hands down, put Abowd’s purple disco duds to shame. Abowd wowed the crowd, however, after his disco dance by peeling off his purple top and sliding it off the dance floor to his spouse and business partner, Supervisor Karen Abowd.

The crowd was treated by that flourish to upper-torso under garb evocative of the 1970s. It splashed into audience eyes as an array of tie-dyed rainbow colors to punctuate Abowd’s resurrection of a bygone era.

But such shenanigans couldn’t save Abowd from coughing up over Shirk’s triumph. It was all in good fun as Abowd lost a bet he had initiated. He threw down the gauntlet the previous Thursday at a Board of Supervisors meeting. After testifying on an ordinance, he issued a challenge. Shirk and the mayor were roped into a side bet over the imminent dance-off.

Adios $100. But trailing Shirk didn’t do away with consolation prizes: the fun was for everyone and the money went to a good cause.


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