Dancers represent varied backgrounds | NevadaAppeal.com

Dancers represent varied backgrounds

Steve Ranson
LVN Editor Emeritus

The 12th annual Dancing with the Stars returns March 16 for a 7 p.m. performance at Churchill County High School's Elmo Dericco Gym,

Nonrefundable tickets may be purchased at Jeff's Copy Express and at the door. The Fallon Swing Dancers boosters is presenting the annual program.

This year's five male celebrities are Darryl Erwin, Eric Grimes, Brooke Hill, Jake Lewis and Grant Moulton. The dancers include educators, the director of the veterans cemetery at Fernley and a retired pharmacist. Their responses, which varied in length, were provided on a questionnaire for the program.

Erwin graduated from Churchill County High School in 1998, is married and has three "crazy kids." Before his family moved to Fallon, they lived in Alameda, Calif. After high school, he attended Feather River College in Quincy, Calif., where he played basketball. He received his bachelor's degree and Masters in Education through Ashford University.

During his career, Erwin has been associated with several institutions, taught at Silver Stage School in Silver Springs and is now a teacher and coach at CCHS. He loves the Chicago professional sports teams … except the White Sox.

Erwin said stardom was on his mind years ago.

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"When I played Dance Central for the Xbox 360 years ago, that is when I knew I had no rhythm," he said.

But his family's influence has been his main motivator.

"I have an awesome wife, Katherine, and three awesome kids Meeka, Teon and Iyanna," he said. "They might drive me nuts and insane from time to time, but they motivate me and I love them to death."

Erwin, who represents CCHS, said DWTS will definitely be a challenge because this is out of his realm.

"Madison Blea has been tearing me apart and getting me prepared for this," he said. "She does not 'Blea' around LOL. "

Blea is not his first dance partner, though. He first had a partner in middle school at one of their dances.

"I was doing the Tootsie Roll and the cabbage patch," he added.

Grimes is originally from Indiana, but he joined the Navy after his high school graduation. He eventually received his Bachelor of Science from Emory Riddle University and a Juris Doctor degree from Thurgood Marshall in Houston.

Grimes spent eight years in the Navy, 10 as a government contractor, four practicing law and eight in economic development. He is currently the superintendent of the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

As for stardom, he saw how much recognition his daughter received.

"Watching my oldest daughter and dance partner this year, (and) over the years, I got tired of her getting all the spotlight," he said.

Grimes, who's representing Nevada Department of Veterans Service, said his wife has been inspirational because of her happiness, kindness and giving.

"She's an amazing woman. (She made me say that)," Grimes said, adding his involvement with this year's DWTS is a dream come true.

As for his first dance partner, Grimes was either 6 or 7 years old. He partner was taller and had hairy legs.

"Like really hairy … and terrible breath," he recalled. "But then again she was our pet dog."

Grimes said his three daughters have prepared him for this year's show, and he's ready for the competition.

"This is war! Sabotage is not out of the question," he predicted.

Greenwave head football coach Brooke Hill is trading in the gridiron for the dance floor. A Fallon native, Hill graduated from CCHS in 1990, received an AA degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho (formerly Ricks College) in 1994 and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1998. Hill currently teaches government at CCHS.

Hill said he enjoys sports "absolutely" and is not a band person.

As for stardom, Hill said it began on the field with his football career and credits his wife, Alisha, and six children as being his biggest influences.

Hill is representing CCHS football, but he hasn't been a big fan of dancing. He did say the Minnie P Blair sock hop was his first dance and the first opportunity he danced with a partner.

Hill said it was an easy decision to compete this year.

"My wife forced me," he said.

For the past few weeks, Hill said he will defeat his competitors by spending hours of practice and praying.

Lewis remembers the day he was born.

"The only person that cried that day was the doctor," he said. "No one slaps Jake Lewis. In a mere three months, Jake grew to the height of a man while teaching himself to read and write using only a slide rule and an abacus."

Lewis said being a professional audience member up to this point led him to stardom. He first achieved stardom by betting NASA that he could survive re-entry without a spacesuit. In 1995, Jake Lewis reentered the earth's atmosphere streaking over 14 states and reaching a temperature of 3,000 degrees. NASA publicly claimed it was a meteor and they still owe Jake $20.

Lewis said it's currently Dancing with the Stars' dream to have him perform. Lewis is representing Oasis Academy, where he's been a math teach since the school first opened.

As for dancing, he said the first time he'll remember a partner from dancing will be on March 16.

Jake has been married to his wife, Traci for almost 18 years, and they have two children, Jessalyn and Zander. He grew up in Fallon, went to CCHS and graduated from Montana State University.

Moulton grew up in Heber, Utah, and found his way west to Fallon where he owned and operated Fallon Family Drug for 20 years, Lovelock Pharmacy for 10 years and Silver Stage Pharmacy for two years.

"I don't know if I'm unemployed or retired. It could go either way," said Mouton, who received his degree at the University of Utah.

Moulton said he enjoys racquetball and pickleball and also loves music. He played clarinet and saxophone in high school.

"Also, I played the bass drum when we marched, usually behind the horses," he added.

Moulton said stardom has come to him at a price.

"First I paid for my daughter to take thousands of hours of dance lessons, and then I wanted to actually dance with her," he said.

According to Moulton, his friends and family have been his great influences, but he said he's been surrounded by many examples of great people. For the last five years, he has wanted to dance on DWTS, and now he feels more confident.

"My daughter made Destry Johnson look great," he said. "How hard could it be to do that for me?"

Moulton will be representing all the wonderful people of Fallon who have retired or passed who have contributed so much to him and his family.

"I could easily list a hundred people who have shown kindness or support to me or the community and have quietly retired or moved on," he said.

Mouton said his first dance partner came in elementary school, but over the years he has grown to appreciate dance.

"I am amazed at what my daughter and her friends have accomplished by just working consistently with great instructors," said Moulton, who now lives in St. George, Utah, with his wife so they could be closer to family.