Mid County, Port Arthur represented in Dancing with the Stars event

Published 12:18 am Wednesday, March 3, 2021

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Port Arthur and Mid County will be represented at the Dancing With the Stars of Southeast Texas event Friday.

The event raises funds for the Junior League of Beaumont, whose primary mission is to promote volunteerism and develop the potential of women by supporting the community. The League supports Beaumont and surrounding areas through community projects that focus on self-esteem for youth, parenting skills and promoting healthy lifestyles.

Dancers are paired into duos creating seven teams with each team having at least one choreographer.

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Jefferson County Precinct 2 Constable and Port Arthur native Chris Bates has wanted to participate for a couple of years. This year, he is teamed up with Sharita Gardner.

“I had a few friends that participated in it,” he said. “I have been waiting on my turn. It is exciting to also benefit the Junior League and what they do for the community. I’m am grateful to be able to be a part of it.”

For the Love of Foods owner Jessi Ly was hesitant to participate at first because of her dancing skills.

“I am not a dancer at all,” she said laughing. “There are a lot of things I can do, but that is not one of them. The cause is incredible, so I agreed. I am extremely busy. I didn’t even know how I was going to fit it in, but we take our lunch breaks to go practice for an hour and practice in the evening. We are all parents and all busy. It’s a lot.”

Ly is teamed up with Matthew Cook.

Bates said he is competitive and enjoys the competition.

“I’m going in to win as far as raising the most money for the fan favorite,” Bates said. “Right now, we are trailing behind two of the other groups. I am definitely going to up my pressure on social media and things like that to get people to make donations towards our team. Every dollar equals one vote. I am competitive in nature.”

Ly said she is also very competitive.

“I am not going to lie,” she said. “I am very competitive. Like I said, I am not a dancer, but I work. I am going to do my best. No one wants to be second place. I want to win. It is a great cause, but we are all competitive. Our group came up with a great routine that is very ambitious, but I have learned.”

The dancers will take the stage Friday at the Beaumont Civic Center to compete for the Mirrorball Trophy. At the end of the night, the trophy is awarded to the couple with the most votes. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Due to COVID-19, a limited number of tables are available for the live show at the Beaumont Civic Center. Virtual access tickets are available for at-home viewing parties. Donations, tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available at bidpal.net/dwtssetx2021.