First Annual Usos Foundation Fundraising Banquet

Thursday August 6, 2009

Photos by Tiffany of Golden Eyes Photography

  

 

 

    

 

 

 

1st Annual Usos Foundation Banquet A Big Success
 
August 7, 2009
 
Gataivasa- Afa "The Wild Samoan" and his wife Lynn Anoa'i welcomed family, friends, and supporters to the First Annual Usos Foundation Fundraising Banquet in Celebration, Florida on Thursday, August 6. The banquet was absolutely amazing. 
 
The 100+ guests mingled and took many photos with some of the celebrity guests, including Ata Maivia-Johnson, Leati Polaivao Anoa'i a.k.a. Sika the Wild Samoan, Haku, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Diana, Georgia, and Alison Hart, Rikishi, Samu, Toa Maivia, Ricky Santana, and Minneola mayor David Yeager.
 
WXW senior ring announcer Maven Bentley emceed the event and introduced Afa's daughter Monica Anoai-Albright to the podium to say a prayer before dinner. The food was delicious (Salad, chicken cutlet parmigiana, fettuccini alfredo, spicy green beans, delicious seasoned rolls, and a slice of cheesecake for dessert), the speeches were very heartfelt and emotional (everyone cried at some point in the evening). There was a "wrestling fan's dream" moment when Afa, Sika, and Jimmy Snuka did a speech together. Usos Foundation president Lynn Anoai, Usos volunteer Antoinette Williams, the executive director of the foundation Andy Salgado, Haku, and Pam and Fritz Fedele (the parents of Adam Carreras) all spoke from the heart.
 
Sarona Snuka-Polamalu (Daughter of Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka) was the first recipient of the Lia Maivia Scholarship to the Wild Samoan Training Center, and Wes "Da Biff" Peel was the first recipient of the Adam Brandon Carreras Scholarship. Sarona and Biff were deeply emotional and proud to carry the scholarships they greatly deserve.
 
The silent auction was a lot of fun, there were almost 40 fantastic items up for bid, including 3-day, 2-night stays at incredible 5-star resorts, donated by the Mona Lisa Suite Hotel.

But the highlight of the night was the dynamic and exciting Polynesian Show! After the silent auction, everyone was ushered outside, where the Polynesian band was set up, and a whole golf lawn full of chairs. Once everyone sat down, the show began. Rex Tiumalu, the world champion fire knife dancer who you've seen perform at WXW shows, did the opening number, which got a lot of gasps and astonished cheers from the well over 100 people watching. Then there were some Tahitian dances, some Hawaiian dances, an absolutely adorable 5-year-old champion Tahitian dancer, then there was a Maori poi dance, several other impressive and beautiful dances, a Tongan Tau'oluga, and much more.

Usos Foundation wishes to thank our entertainment: Drums of Tahiti (Andy and Moeata and Cast), Lanakila Productions (Janice and Lanakila and Cast), Aloha Productions (Racheal Mclroy and Cast), Wolfgramm Royal Polynesian (Kalei and Cast), Netane Productions, and Usos Band (Via Tiumalu, Sefa Leapai, Malo Tautalatasi, and Fili Aulava).

 
Afa's youngest daughter Tovale Anoai performed the intricate and traditional Samoan Taualuga. The Taualuga is a very special dance, referred to as the "Princess Dance", performed by the Taupou (princess), daughter of a high chief. The assembled audience runs up and dances behind her, cheering and supporting her, and dropping money on her. The Taupou mimics certain cultural things in the dance, such as the Ava ceremony. It's an eloquent and graceful dance, and she was deeply honored to perform it in front of the family, friends, and everyone who came to the Usos Foundation banquet.
 
After Tovale's dance came the mind-blowing, eye-popping finale. Via Tiumalu Jr. (a.k.a. Vijay), Rex's big brother and another world champion fire knife dancer, performed a staggeringly awesome dance which was unbelievable. He possessed such skill, such amazing, incredible, natural-born talent. There were about 8 girls in costume behind him holding up flaming torches, which added a magical feeling to Vijay's dance. Rex joined in, and the audience was absolutely spellbound.

After the show, several of the guests went to the lovely 5-star Mona Lisa Hotel for an afterparty to celebrate a highly successful evening. There was a lot of singing, dancing, and declarations that people couldn't wait for next year's banquet.

Special thanks to our executive director Andy Salgado, business manager Bob McInnes, Trish and Adam Ribblett of First Priority Printing in Clermont, FL, Mona Lisa Suite Hotel, Publix Supermarket, Gators Dockside Restaurant, The Cracker Barrel, Red Lobster, and Allstate Corp. Northbrook, IL C/O Teufel Insurance Agency.


The second annual Usos Foundation Banquet has already been scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2010. Everyone who came to the banquet enthusiastically committed to return for next year's festivities. Next year's banquet will feature a masquerade ball, so mark your calendars now and get your tickets early before they sell out! Visit www.usosfoundation.org for updates and information about Usos Foundation.