As the sun returned following a week of torrential rains, The Challenge Weekend kicked off May 4 and 5 in South Miami Town Center. Local shops and restaurants joined in sidewalk sales and benefit brunches, while parents heard a local sports legend talk about choices and consequences. The weekend’s crowning event, The King Pins Challenge V, raised more than $16,000 for the South Miami Drug-Free Coalition.
The Challenge weekend grew out of the annual King Pins Challenge bowling fundraiser started by Splitsville Luxury Lanes and local lifestyle and entertainment publication SOMI Magazine. For the past five years, The King Pins Challenge has benefitted the South Miami Drug-Free Coalition, which is sponsored by Informed Families. This year, the celebration began with the SOMI Sidewalk Sale on Saturday, which showcased the wares of nearly 20 local merchants, who will donate a portion of their sale proceeds to the coalition. On Sunday, five area restaurants serving brunch donated a portion of their receipts to the coalition. Later that afternoon, Mercury Morris, Miami Dolphins Perfect Season team member, talked to a group gathered at The Shops at Sunset Place about how choices and consequences shaped his life and how these same forces impact youth today. Local marriage and family therapist Walt Liebman moderated the discussion.
That night, more than 70 elected officials, civic and business leaders, youth and parents battled for title of official King Pins, defined as the team that raised the most pledges. Coalition Director Margaret Sotham said she was thrilled with the response to this first Challenge Weekend. “South Miami has such a unique and vibrant business community, and that’s a critical part of a healthy community,” said Sotham. “We want to support their continued prosperity, and they have demonstrated their commitment to youth in South Miami and to helping the coalition grow.”
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and NBA Hall of Fame Finalist Tim Hardaway once again served as honorary cochairs for The King Pins Challenge, and Mercury Morris and NFL player Kennard Cox joined in to cheer on the teams and have pictures taken with the bowlers. Teams participating included Chamber South, City of South Miami, First National Bank of South Miami, South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment Center, South Miami Police Department, South Miami Police Explorers Post #256, South Miami Senior High School and TeamFootWorks and the Tim Hardaway Foundation. The Coalition also fielded two teams and sponsored a kids’ lane, where the youngest bowlers tried their hand at the sport.
Voces de America Mariachi, sponsored by The MexZican Gourmet, kicked off the event with a performance as bowlers prepared to do battle and guests dined on Splitsville’s fantastic pizza and slider buffet. Local magicians Ron Olmsted and Jeff Silver, 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. A raffle drawing featured three prizes: his and hers bicycles donated by Mack Cycle & Fitness, an anti-aging treatment package from VIDA Day Spa & Wellness Center, and a one-week resort stay from Interval International.
At the Awards Ceremony following the tournament, the ‘King Pins’ trophy for highest team pledges went to the South Miami Police Explorers team. The City of South Miami team won the “High Roller” trophy for scoring the most points. Ken Kistner of Team Chamber South was also recognized for garnering the most individual pledges; Martha Cortez was recognized for the highest individual score of the night. Photos of the event are posted at www.facebook.com/drugfreecoalition.
Sponsors recognized at the event were: Chamber South, John Edward Smith Communications, Mack Cycle & Fitness, Police Benevolent Association, South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment Center, TeamFootWorks and The Shops at Sunset place. Other lane and contributing sponsors were: City of South Miami Mayor and Commissioners, First National Bank of South Miami, Interval International, LAZ Parking, Rotary Club of South Miami and VIDA Day Spa & Wellness Center. Community Newspapers served as media sponsor for the event.
Merchants and restaurants participating in The Challenge Weekend were Barceloneta, Bhoom Shanti, BlueFish Sport, Blush Boutique, Cream, D.Find on Sunset, Eberjey, Elements of Time, FootWorks, Isabel Fine Home Furnishings, Margaux Interiors, Marhaba Mediterranean Cuisine, Marisol Boutique, SoMi So U Boutique, Sushi Maki, STA(Second Time Around), Studio LX, The MexZican Gourmet, TOWN Kitchen & Bar, Tupelo Honey, The Dressing Room, VIDA Day Spa & Wellness Center and VIGI Now.
For information on the work of the South Miami Drug-Free Coalition, contact 305- 856-4037.