‘The King Pins Challenge’ helps coalition meet the challenge in kids’ lives

Members of the SoMi Strikers team pose after being declared official King Pins for the highest pledge total of all teams. From left: Sara Zamikoff, Chris Amione, Maggie Maceiras, Ron Yacoub, Mario Capone, Scott Baumann (holding trophy) and Malia Panos. Baumann also took home an award for highest individual pledge amount.

Food, fun, competition and sports celebrities were the order of the day at The King Pins Challenge IV, a bowling fundraiser held Sunday, March 25 at Splitsville – America’s Bowling Alley. The annual event, hosted by the luxury bowling alley and local lifestyle and entertainment publication SOMI Magazine, benefits the South Miami Drug-Free Coalition, which is sponsored by Informed Families.

More than 70 elected officials, civic and business leaders battled for The King Pins Challenge trophy, awarded to the team with the highest pledge total. For three hours, on all thirteen lanes, the teams helped raise more than $20,000 to support the coalition’s work in South Miami.

Coalition Director Margaret Sotham said the event showcases the community’s commitment to youth. “We are so fortunate to have leaders from businesses, the community and government who get involved in the lives of our kids,” Sotham said. “By taking ‘The Challenge,’ these dedicated volunteers demonstrate their commitment to fostering the next generation of leaders.”

NBA Hall of Fame Nominee Tim Hardaway once again served as celebrity emcee for the event. He and wife Yolanda have served as Honorary King Pins for the last three years. Joining them on the lanes were NFL players Kennard Cox, Seattle Seahawks; Torrie Cox, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2003-09), Free Agent; Louis Delmas, Detroit Lions; and Patrick Robinson, New Orleans Saints. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Carlos A. Gimenez, who has supported The Challenge since its inception and fielded a team of family members, spoke to attendees about the importance of helping kids make wise choices and supporting local causes like the coalition and Informed Families.

Other teams participating included Chamber South, City of South Miami, First National Bank of South Miami, the Red Sunset Merchants Association, SoMi Strikers (South Miami-area businesses), South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment Center, South Miami Police Department, South Miami Police Explorers Post #256, South Miami Senior High School and TeamFootWorks. The Coalition also fielded a team and sponsored a kids lane, where the youngest bowlers tried their hand at the sport.

Local magicians Rick Del Vecchio and Ron Olmsted, both members of the International Brotherhood of Magicians- Ring 45/Miami and of the South Miami/Coral Gables Elks Lodge 1676, entertained guests of all ages, while players and spectators shopped at a silent auction that included sports memorabilia, spa and beauty gifts, vacation stays and products and services from several local merchants.

At the Awards Ceremony following the tournament, the ‘King Pins’ trophy for highest team pledges went to SoMi Strikers. South Miami Hospital’s team won the “High Roller” trophy for scoring the most points. Scott Baumann of SoMi Strikers was also presented with a certificate of recognition for garnering the most individual pledges. Mario Capone was recognized for the highest individual score of the night. A special “Celebrity Bowl” following the main event ended in a tie between Tim Hardaway and Patrick Robinson, who both received awards for their efforts. Photos of the event are posted at www.facebook.com/drugfreecoalition.

Sponsors recognized at the event were: South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment Center, TeamFootWorks, Chamber South, John Edward Smith Communications and Mack Cycle & Fitness. Other lane and contributing sponsors were: Dr. Rene Landa, DMD, First National Bank of South Miami, Interval International, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Outside the Huddle Foundation, Police Benevolent Association, Red Sunset Merchants Association, Rotary Club of South Miami, Larkin Community Hospital, The Shops at Sunset Place, Hometown Inc., Vice Mayor Josh Liebman and Commissioner Valerie Newman. Community Newspapers served as media sponsor for the event.

Next year’s event – The King Pins Challenge V – is set for Sunday, March 24, 2013. For information on the work of the South Miami Drug-Free Coalition, please contact 305.856.4037.

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