March Madness means two things: NCAA basketball and the thrills of Fallon’s Dancing with the Stars that began in 2008.
Every year, community “celebrities” are paired with high-school dance students from the Fallon Swing Dance Club. This year’s fundraiser is March 11 at 7 p.m. in the Churchill County High School Gym.
Today’s overview first takes a look at the six men who will compete for the coveted title. (Each contestant supplied background material on a survey.)
Hyde has spent the majority of his adult life in the dental lab industry and is owner/operator of Hyde Dental Prosthetics.
He is surprised to be on DWTS.
“I never dreamed I would be invited to be a star on DWTS,” he said. “I suppose stardom is differently viewed by different people; if I were to guess what makes me a star, I couldn’t really put my finger on that.”
Hyde has some hesitation about dancing.
“Being in front of a gymnasium full of people dancing is more of a nightmare than a dream for me,” he figured.
He thinks the first time he danced with a partner was at church activities as a young man.
“I don’t think I have a personality that likes being the center of attention,” Hyde pointed out. “Probably in the last few years doing lectures and presentations at dental shows has made me more comfortable with the idea.”
Matt Hyde, who claims to have been a former champion club dancer, has lived in Fallon his entire life. With an earned doctorate in basket weaving and a minor in dance, the CC Communications employee and current school-board trustee brings his athleticism to the floor.
Hyde said he became a contestant after seeing the prerequisites were not that high for qualifying as a dancer. Being on DWTS has not exactly been rosy for Hyde; he called it a “nightmare.” Hyde said the experience is out of his comfort zone.
Looking back at his dancing career, Hyde said he first remembered the sixth-grade Minnie P. Blair sock hop.
“We would line up straight across from each other moving side to side, clicking our heals together,” he recalled.
James Riley Horn
Horn grew up in a small farm town in Oregon and then studied at Miles Community College and North Dakota State University.
Now in Fallon, he teaches a class called JAG at the high school. His class helps students find success with both graduation and life afterward.
Stardom has come natural for Horn.
“In my life, I’ve always wanted to be the star,” he said. “Being a pitcher in baseball and having the game centered on my performance is an example of that. I am looking forward to being able to show why I should be a star now.”
Competing in DWTS hadn’t been a goal in life, but he enjoys the spotlight.
Horn remembers his early years of dancing.
“In fifth grade my teacher made all of us in the class learn how to swing dance. I picked it up pretty good then and actually went on to win our girls choice dance competition with my partner.”
Horn said he never continued to pursue much dancing after that, so he will see if he still has those fifth-grade skills.”
Olsen has lived in Fallon since he was 10 years old. He owns Hillside Dairy with his brothers Pete and Neil. He serves on the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Board as a director and considers himself a big supporter of FFA and 4-H.
So how does Olsen feel about the big night of dancing?
“I am scared to death to dance just like everyone else,” Olsen said. “My daughter has danced since she was 3 (I have zero dance experience). It is her passion and I know this is important to her. She is going to continue to dance in college. There is no way and I mean no way I would do this if it were not for her.”
Dancing is not at the top of Olsen’s list of things to do. He loves cars — Dodge cars — and racing such as NASCAR. He raced stock cars for 10 years.
Dancing, though, has a special spot in his life.
“When she was about 2 years old,” Olsen said, “no words can describe the experience that a father has when you dance with your daughter for the first time.”
Olsen is game for a new adventure.
“Racing has taught me sometimes you have to take chances in life to get the most out of it,” he said.
Sweeney first danced in DWTS when he was a high-school student. Much has happened in Sweeney’s life since then.
He spent four years in the Navy as an aviation ordnanceman, and he now owns CrossFit Powerstroke.
Being goofy, said Sweeney, brought him to stardom. He’s in good shape, and Sweeney said he has “dumb luck.” In high school, though, he danced on the Fallon Swing Dance Team during his senior year.
“Terrible dancer, good lifter,” Sweeney said of his abilities.
Sweeney said he figured dancing again on DWTS would be a challenge, and based on placing 30th in the world in the CrossFit Games, Sweeney said he’s ready for this year’s event. Competing in the CrossFit Games, he said, has prepared him the most.
Sweeney, though, is confident:
“I’m not real shy ... figured it would be pretty fun,” he added.
Pharmacist Nathan Dahl grew up in Elko but graduated from Churchill County High School. He attended Idaho State University and received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
Dahl said he enjoys most sports and music.
“I enjoy most types of music but could not tell you who the band is singing the majority of the songs I listen to,” he said. “AC/DC will always hold a special place in my heart though.”
He wouldn’t call it a dream to be on DWTS.
“If you mean the dream that wakes you up in the middle of the night with cold sweats and trembling with fear than yes, that is the dream I have been having,” he said.
Dahl thinks back to when he first danced in high school when he was 16 and his wife to be was a year younger.
“We went to the first practice to participate in a dance festival being held in Fallon that year,” he said. “After 20 minutes of that first practice we were asked to leave due to our lack of ability. I have not attempted dance since.”
As for courage, he said it is due to his utter lack in ability to say no to nice people.