In an effort to raise money for local elementary students and teachers, the Greater Hot Springs Kiwanis Club is gearing up to host its third annual Terrific Legs Contest and Terrific Kids Banquet.
Votes will be cast for contestants through Tuesday when the banquet will be held beginning at 6 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 132 Abbott Place. Tickets are $10 each and may be purchased at the door.
The family friendly fundraiser will feature a chili supper along with a silent auction, guest speakers, live music, donated door prizes and an awards presentation for the winner of the Terrific Legs Contest. All proceeds will benefit Garland County students through the Terrific Kids program and Teacher Appreciation Awards.
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"We wanted to do something fun, kind of that stood out that was a little bit more casual, as a fundraiser to raise money for Garland County kids," Hot Springs Kiwanis President Brian Canales said.
"It's for a good cause. We're raising money to help sponsor the Terrific Kids program, and so we'll have this banquet that's going to really talk more about the Terrific Kids program that we have in some public schools. And then we also started something -- and it kind of happened right at the beginning of COVID, with the teacher educator appreciation awards. We wanted to kind of step up and do something to really just recognize teachers for what they do. They kind of go over and beyond. They supply a lot of their own funds for classroom supplies and materials," he said.
Canales, who is also a contestant this year, noted the Kiwanis were not able to honor the teachers like they wanted to last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, but they hope to make up for it this year. In addition to gifting each classroom with $250, they will also present a $100 award to each teacher or educator nominated by their peers.
"We're rewarding kids for things other than, maybe perfect attendance or, you know, best grades," he said. "So this is a way to really kind of recognize kids that are maybe most improved with attitude or maybe for effort. It's a way to really help motivate kids that may not normally get an award or receive some kind of recognition."
For the contest, male members of the community enter a photo of themselves wearing "crazy" socks, which people will vote on. Votes are gained by each dollar donated toward their vote, as each vote counts as one dollar. The contestant who collects the most votes is deemed to have the most terrific legs in Garland County.
"We want to get that information out into the community and we've just been having some fun with it," said Canales.
"And there's a nice award that we'll have for whoever's deemed the most terrific legs of Garland County. We give them a trophy, which is a Christmas Story leg lamp, and we'll put a nameplate with their name and that they're deemed the most terrific legs of Garland County for that year.
"It's a good, casual laid-back way to have some fun and it usually gets people talking. I just want to say thank you to the teachers, the educators, for what they've done and what they do. It's been a challenging time, not only for them, but for the kids and then for the families due to COVID. So this is a way for us to say thank you and to show our support for what they do," he said.
"We're hoping that the more funds that we're able to generate or raise, that will allow us to do more of those classroom donations and maybe also provide more things for kids for the Terrific Kids program. We know it's been challenging and we're just trying to offer some encouragement to the kids and teachers. We just want to show our appreciation and have them to continue to do what they do."
Donations are made by choosing a contestant and visiting their business by Tuesday to donate a minimum of $1.
Contestants include Francisco Herrera, Jose's Mexican restaurant, 5361 Central Ave.; Pedro Torres, Jose's Mexican restaurant, 2215 Malvern Ave.; Richard Burks, Morrison Law Firm, 835 Central, Suite 509; Brian Canales, Edward Jones Investment, 315 Section Line Road, Suite F; Justin Nicklas, Gross Funeral Home, 120 Wright St.; Kyle Nobles, Steadman's Physical Therapy, 216 Garrison Road, Suite B; Edmond Cooper, Hot Springs Children's Dance Theater, 216 Garrison; Walt MacPhee, ATOKA Inc.; Brandon Lynch, Diamond Bank, 1135 Airport Road; Anthony Tidwell, Cutwell 4Kids, 247 Silver St.; Alan Spraggins, Cornerstone Capital, 508 Ouachita Ave., Suite E; Marsalis Weatherspoon, Langston Elementary Leadership Academy, 300 Silver; Annette Alvarez, Raymond Wright State Farm, 315 Section Line Road, Suite E; and Eric Lenox, assistant principal at Langston Elementary Leadership Academy, 300 Silver St.