Saturday is for the girls.
Women from across the county will gather at the Thunder Mountain Activity Center on Fort Huachuca for the 30th annual Sizzle event hosted by the San Pedro Kiwanis club as a fundraiser for their nonprofit Just Kids Inc. This year’s theme, The Last Rodeo, not only incompasses the area’s western history but also represents the end of the Sizzle era.
“It’s very sad,” this year’s events co-chair Crystal Madden said. “It’s the last Sizzle but it’s not the last event. We just wanted the opportunity to change the format of the event.”
Sizzle was an event designed to provide a safe place for a ladies night out where men from the community serve the attendees with auctions and dinner to help raise money for the youth in the community.
The idea and concept was new to the area when it first began in 1990. Emma Lee De Rosa, a longtime member of San Pedro Kiwanis, said it was Debi Sanders who brought Sizzle to Sierra Vista after she had attended one in Carson City, Nevada. Roughly 75 women attended the inaugural Sizzle event, which raised approximately $3,000. This year Madden said they are expecting 279 people at Saturday’s event.
“This is one of our biggest attendances in a while,” she said. “People are excited about the western theme.”
Jeff Davenport and Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels return to emcee the event.
“The Sizzle was an icon for three decades,” Dannels said. “It brings the community together and the funds raised helps disadvantaged youth.”
The Last Rodeo will feature live entertainment from two bands from Cochise County. Partners, a husband and wife duo from Sierra Vista, will take the stage first at 5:30 p.m. and then headliners Panic Station, from Benson, will play during dinner.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner starting at 7 p.m. The silent auction features numerous items and runs from the start of the event to 8:30 p.m. A live auction takes place towards the end of the night before the dance floor is opened.
Donna Hilton, one of the San Pedro Kiwanis members who is coordinating the waiters for this year’s event, said they want to make sure they have “fun and energetic” men because they help make the event enjoyable for attendees. Wallace Ricks and Andre Dickson will return as waiters, which Hilton is excited about. They will be joined by returning servers Sierra Vista City Councilman William Benning, former Councilman Craig Mount, County Attorney Brian McIntyre, Tony Pham and Clint Briseno.
Dannels, the current president for Just Kids Inc. and member of the San Pedro Kiwanis, has been involved with the event for as long as he can remember.
“I started a waiter and then joined the committee which is what happens a lot,” he said. “We’ve led a pretty good event but sometimes you have to change the course.”