Bird soars to first place | NevadaAppeal.com

Bird soars to first place

From left, Sharah Lynn Moulton, Destry Johnson, Jennifer Marshall, Brandon Bird, Madison Blea, and Billy Thompson place in the top three winning teams for Fallon's 11th Annual Dancing With The Stars held March 17.
MOLLY MOSER/LVN |

A night full of swings, steps, twirls, and tosses at Fallon’s 11th annual Dancing With The Stars left judges and audiences a tough decision when it came to voting for the top three teams.

But St. Patrick’s Day will forever be a double-celebration day for Brandon Bird. The Deputy Chief of Detention at Churchill County Juvenile Probation won first place—plus People’s Choice—for his Hamilton-era, witty performance on Saturday at the Churchill County High School gym.

Bird danced on stage for a local prestigious show for the first time with his assigned partner, Jennifer Marshall, a senior at Churchill County High School.

“I might retire after this,” Bird joked.

Although Bird had trouble balancing Marshall above his head during the performance at times, both partners kept it comical; the bold Bird stood on a table and tossed play money to the audience below.

The pair was the last performance of the night.

“The biggest challenges was the amount of time that requires to do a dance,” Bird said “It felt like hours but I practiced every waking moment to do this.”

Dances were a maximum of two minutes.

Followed by Bird was a brave performance by Destry Johnson, Public Works supervisor at Defense Base Services, Inc., won second place. Johnson and his assigned partner and CCHS junior, Sharah Lynn Moulton, created a dance connected to the hit Pixar Disney movie, “Brave.”

The graceful performance had crowds in awe as both Johnson and Moulton dressed up as characters from the film.

With a “Jurassically” entertaining performance, Lumegent’s Billy Thompson, CEO of Fallon’s marketing giant, took home third place with his assigned partner and CCHS junior, Madison Blea.

Thompson and Blea represented characters from the Jurassic Park series with backup dancers dressed in inflatable T-Rex costumes.

Although both Johnson and Thompson are proud of the wins, they give a good chunk of credit to their dances partners.

“We couldn’t have done it without our partners,” Destry said.

“All of the work comes from them,” Thompson said.

Performances by other participants also were compassionate, as three sets of partners danced with their children, all students within CCHS; Karen Horne with her son, Jef Horne; Cherilee Sorensen with her son, Matthew Sorensen; Ryan Sorensen with his daughter, Mari Sorensen; and Lance Lattin with his daughter, Milana Lattin.

Many other performances focused on generations throughout time. Amy O’Flaherty and her dance partner Timothy Shurtliff of Oasis Academy got crowds to tap their feet with a 70s theme performance, while Caroline Coleman and her dance partner, Davis Benecke of CCHS, switched up the night with a dance inspired by “Grease.”

Natalie Matley-Keeney and CCHS senior Joshua Schie mixed their performance with a noire-style skit.

All three judges this year have local roots to Fallon, featuring Jake Johnston — a winner of DWTS in 2016, Katie Jones, who’s coached for numerous dance clubs and plays throughout northern Nevada, and Lindsey Irving, a dance instructor at The Studio for the Performing Arts. Fallon couple and DWTS veterans Brad and Dana Barton also MC’d at the event.

Numerous performances were put in between competitions, including Fallon Swing Competition Ballroom Team and Fallon City Ballet.