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cover STORY • metroMAGAZINE

ALS IN THE HEARTLAND has linked up with the COX Classic golf tournament to host “Sizzle Under the Stars,” Omaha’s only celebrity auction, on July 17th at Ironwood Golf Course. Local and nationally known singles including Fire Captain Darren Garrean have planned enticing date or couples packages, reflecting their hot personalities and interests. Garrean, who quipped about his participation, serves as vice president of The Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Association. He feels sure he can make pulses race and bidding soar when his package is sold by celebrity auctioneer Justin Trowbridge during the live auction. For those who agree that spending the night with hot bachelors, alluring beauties, and fun couples could make for a memorable evening, this event could hit the “hot button.” These “sizzlin’ celebs” are waiting for potential “buyers” to open their checkbooks, bid high and make this an evening to remember. Proceeds raised will financially support ALS in the Heartland. Event co-chairs Missy Zadina of ALS in the Heartland and Gina Matt with the COX Classic readily admit the main concern pondered by the A-list celebrities is the fear no one will start the bidding. Both believe that is an unlikely prospect indeed, given the celebrities involved and the date packages they have assembled to entice bidders. BELINDA WRIGHT continued

“it’s not every night that a miss nebraska usa and a captain and paramedic with the omaha fire department are placed on the auction block for an evening of fun.”

sizzlin’ celebs BENEF ITING




metroMAGAZINE • JULY 2010

cover STORY • metroMAGAZINE

PERSONALITIES Personalities on the evening’s bill include: Former Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz; Fire Captain Darren Garrean; Nebraska native Elizabeth Kitt, who has appeared on reality TV; Miss Nebraska USA 2010 Belinda Wright, who secured a spot in the top fifteen in the pageant and earned the coveted Miss Congeniality title; Misty Janssen, MD, Family Practitioner with Alegent Health; and Ryan McPike, Chief Meteorologist for KMTV Action 3 News. For two friends or a high bidding couple, local radio personalities Big Party and Jeff Degan of Channel 94.1 will place their egos on the line at sale time.



A 3-WAY WIN Now celebrating the 15th year of financially supporting local charities, the COX Classic presented by Lexus of Omaha is thrilled with their new partnership with ALS, effectively creating a three way win for Omaha. To date, the weeklong golf tournament, operated and incorporated as a not-for-profit organization, has distributed over $1.6 million dollars to local charities. Thirteen local organizations will share in the year’s purse from the COX Classic, a premier stop in a nationwide series. Each year, some of the best golfers in the world compete to take their next step toward the PGA Tour. Funds raised by “Sizzle Under the Stars” will directly benefit those facing ALS, along with providing emotional support and educational resources for their loved ones. ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neuromuscular degenerative disease that attacks the voluntary muscle movements we take for granted. There is no known preventive measure or known cure, definitive medical test, or scientific explanation for this crippling disease. Co-chair Zadina knows first hand the devastating effects of ALS, yet also knows the amazing support and resources provided by ALS in the Heartland.

Zadina’s mother, Sandra Howard, was 67 years young when she was diagnosed with ALS at the Mayo Clinic in October 2005. She passed away four months later on January 9th, 2006. Her doctors believe she had been struggling with the disease for almost two years. Zadina fondly describes her mother as an inspiration and says, “My mother was very independent and full of life.” She is grateful that ALS in the Heartland was “an amazing resource”- providing support, in-home health care, and 100 percent of the costs of medical equipment needed to care for her mom.

COX CLASSIC CHIPS IN RESOURCES Organizers of the COX Classic golf tournament realized their roster of 1,000 volunteers could lend a hand toward creating a new charity event during their tournament’s kickoff party. Gina Matt, representing the not-for-profit organization who operates the COX Classic, approached Zadina to discuss the prospects of forming a partnership. 10

Soon after their initial discussions, the “Sizzle Under the Stars” co-chairs took action, setting their sights on generating six figures. Behind the scenes, the COX Classic had the vision of further positioning their message, which maintains that the primary purpose of the tournament is to support thirteen local charities. Over the past fifteen years, the COX Classic tournament has contributed $1.7 million dollars to the community.

SUMMER’S HOTTEST CHARITY EVENT Following the live auction, local band Secret Weapon will provide music for guests to dance to under the stars. Attendees will also have the chance to sample a signature “Sizzle” drink created for this event, or to participate in the hole-in-one contest. The fireworks show near the end of the evening will light up the night sky and the lucky high bidders will bring home the prize. Visit to purchase tickets for this year’s “Sizzlin’ Under the Stars” event.

metroMAGAZINE • JULY 2010

metroMagazine • The Spirit of Omaha




Sizzle Under the Stars is Omaha’s hottest new event of the summer. Fire up the weekend by getting a VIP ticket or table for this new kickoff to the Cox Classic tournament. The Cox Classic is teaming up with ALS in the Heartland to host this benefit featuring Omaha’s only celebrity charity auction. The sparks will fly on Saturday, July 17th at the Ironwood Golf Club beginning with VIP arrival at 5:30pm followed by general admission beginning at 6:30pm. The live bachelor & bachelorette auction follows at 8:00 pm. The auction is followed by a performance at 9:30pm by SECRET WEAPON, the winner of Omaha’s 2009 Entertainer of the Year Award. The evening ends with a fireworks show produced by Midwest Fireworks Wholesalers.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE EVENING • Making an offer in the silent auction • Bidding during the live bachelor &

bachelorette auction hosted by Carol Wang & Craig Nigreli from KMTV3

• Meeting Elizabeth Kitt, Reality TV personality

• Visiting with Miss Nebraska USA 2010, Belinda Wright

• Talking football with former NU Quarterback Joe Ganz

• Being entertained by more local and national celebrities

At the 18th hole, guests will have the opportunity to try for a holein-one to win a Lexus IS250 convertible from Lexus of Omaha. The shot that lands closest to the pin wins a set of golf clubs from Prairie Golf.

Ticket prices start at $40. Call 402.399.1800 or visit


PRESENTED BY LEXUS OF OMAHA The Cox Classic Presented by Lexus of Omaha is the premier event on the Nationwide Tour. Each year, some of the best golfers in the world compete to take that next step to the PGATOUR. Thousands of fans attend not only to see these great golfers, but to learn more about the thirteen charities supported by the event. To learn more about the Cox Classic and the charities it supports, visit continued


cover STORY • metroMAGAZINE

CELEB BIO BELINDA WRIGHT On the evening of October 25th in Norfolk, Nebraska, an enthusiastic audience welcomed Belinda Wright as the new Miss Nebraska USA 2010. Belinda was raised in Scotia, Nebraska. The 22-year-old is a senior at the University of NebraskaLincoln majoring in Clothing and Textile Design and Mass Communications with an emphasis in Advertising. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in communications and advertising, and then begin working in the entertainment/fashion industry. Belinda currently works at the university’s newspaper and also models. She also stays active by volunteering within the Nebraska community. In her free time, Belinda enjoys running, drawing, traveling, dancing, sewing, photography, camping, baking, as well as trying new foods. With the job of Miss Nebraska USA 2010, she has worked on her platform, which is focused on helping young people concentrate on the importance of education and believing in themselves. Miss Wright encourages all kids to be a STAR (stay in school, take chances even if you fail, ask questions, and reach for your degree). In addition, she wants to stress the importance of leading a healthy life style and being confident in who you are. She represented Nebraska at the 2010 Miss USA Pageant this May in Las Vegas and was the first Miss Nebraska USA to win the Miss Congeniality award and the first Miss Nebraska USA to place in the top 15 in 30 years.


CELEB BIO ELIZABETH KITT Elizabeth Kitt grew up in southwest Nebraska. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Since college, Elizabeth has been working as a sales representative and lives in Los Angeles. She has appeared on a couple of reality television shows and enjoys all southern California has to offer.

KITT FACTS: • Born and raised in Wauneta, NE on February 20, 1980 • Graduated from high school in Imperial, NE in May of 1998 • Attended college at the University of Nebraska at Kearney • Graduated in May of 2003 with a Bachelor of Science Organizational Communications • Worked in sales in Ohio and Missouri for different reputable companies for seven years. She currently works for Skyline Direct Fed, in Los Angeles • Elizabeth is a “reality TV”star

Ryan is the chief meteorologist at Action 3 News. He grew up just down I-29 in Kansas City, where the majority of his family is from and where much of his family still resides. It was at a young age when Ryan fell in love with weather. It all started with a fascination with winter storms and snow, followed by interest in the severe thunderstorms that frequent the Midwest and Central Plains during the spring and summer. While Ryan attended the University of Missouri, he held several television internships in both Kansas City and Columbia, Missouri. His most beneficial internship came under the schooling of Mr. Bryan Busby at KMBC, one of the most respected meteorologists in the business. It was there that Ryan got a real taste of the business and his career started to take off. Since graduating from MIZZOU in December of 1994, Ryan has worked in Topeka, KS, and Erie, PA. He came to Omaha in November of 1997 and was named chief meteorologist in February of 2002. Ryan has dealt with nearly every weather scenario imaginable, from the challenging Lake Effect Snow of Erie, PA to the tornadoes of the Central Plains. Ryan says some of the nicest weather in the country can be found here in Omaha during the months of the fall season, which is when he enjoys working out, playing sports, and watching football.




A “spa experience” at Kimberly Spa either before or after a trip to the James Arthur Vineyard and a golf outing at Tiburon Golf Course.

Date flies to Los Angeles, picks me up around 11:00am in a ferrari/flashy sports car, we go get massages and hit golf balls at the Aroma Spa and Sports:

The winning bidder for Ryan will be very busy! Ryan will take you to a Creighton Men’s Home Basketball Game where you’ll sit COURTSIDE…and have dinner downtown at Twisted Fork Bar & Grill before or after the game!

He takes me home around 5pm to get ready for our evening date that includes dinner and a private wine tasting from Kovacs Brothers Wine at Tavern - Brentwood - Los Angeles.

FOR MORE Plus, you will receive a behind-thescenes tour of Action 3 News, and SIZZLIN’ CELEBS you’ll also get to watch a live BIOS, DATE PKGS, newscast! After dinner, the date wraps around Q&A & MORE 11pm, and he takes me home. VISIT........................................................................................................................... 12

metroMAGAZINE • JULY 2010


metroMagazine • The Spirit of Omaha

CELEB BIO JOE GANZ Joe Ganz was born to Mike and Debbie Ganz on December 6th, 1985. He earned his degree in business administration. Ganz has been named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll six times. Ganz has volunteered his time with American Education Week, School is Cool Week and the Husker Pen Pal program. For his efforts in the community, Ganz was named to the 2008 Brook Berringer Citizenship Program.

CELEB BIO BIG PARTY & JEFF DEGAN Big Party & Jeff Degan co-host The Big Party Morning Show weekday mornings from 5-10am on Omaha’s #1 HIT Music Station – Channel 94.1! The show began over six years ago and eveyone is amazed they’ve lasted this long…especially their bosses! Party was born in Omaha, but spent seven years in Germany. When he returned, he began his career in radio while entertaining carnival workers. He pretends to be interested in sports, but really loves his cat, Rocky II. He dreams to one day own a hot dog stand called Big Party Doggs, where the Extra G is for Extra Goodness! Jeff is a “little less strange” and enjoys ice hockey, current events, and his family. Born in Omaha, Jeff attended Creighton University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He started his radio career in Omaha but made stops in Kansas City, Oklahoma, and Lincoln before meeting Party and joining The Big Party Morning Show. While they can be a handful, both Party and Jeff are quite serious about the yearly Channel 94.1 December Diaper Drive – a fundraiser for The Lydia House, a division of the Open Door Mission. Since they started on Channel 94.1, they encourage listeners every December to drop off packages of diapers for the women and children of The Lydia House. So far, over one million diapers have been collected.


CELEB BIO MISTY JANSSEN Misty Janssen was born and raised in Fremont, Nebraska. She received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from WSC in Wayne, Nebraska. She then received her medical degree from UNMC and completed her family medicine residency and fellowship training there. Misty practiced in Fremont for several years and recently moved her practice to Omaha where she works for Alegent Health Clinic. Due to the high number of in-need patients she sees daily, Misty has been getting her feet wet in the area of volunteering with charitable organizations. She loves to promote healthful lifestyles, and therefore claims she holds herself to high standards when it comes to the mind, the body, and the spirit.

HOLDS 23 NEBRASKA SCHOOL RECORDS • NU Single-Game Record Holder for Passing Yards (510) • Total Offense (528) and Passing TDs (7) • Nebraska Season Record Holder for Passing Yards • Pass Completions and Total Offense • Second at Nebraska in Career Passing Yards and Touchdown Passes • 2008 First-Team Academic All-Big 12 • Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week (2007 vs. Kansas State; 2008 vs. Kansas State) • 2008 Tom Novak Trophy Winner • 2008 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Watch List • Four-Time Big 12 Commissioner's Spring Academic Honor Roll (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008) • Three-Time Big 12 Commissioner’s Fall Academic Honor Roll (2005, 2007, 2008) • 2008 Brook Berringer Citizenship Team • 2004 Nebraska Offensive Scout Team MVP




Get the Rock Star Treatment with Big Party & Jeff Degan!

The couple will be transported from Omaha to Slattery Vintage Estates via towncar, courtesy of Accent Limousine Service. From there, they will embark on an hour-long hot air balloon flight, courtesy of Dreamtime Balloon Adventures.

A tour of the NU athletic facilities, one ticket and one sideline pass to an early game and a signed football by Bo Pelini and Tom Osborne.

On Thursday, September 2nd, the auction winner and a guest will get to join Big Party & Jeff Degan for dinner at 360 Steakhouse inside Harrah’s Casino & Hotel. Then, everyone will head down to their VIP Seats to watch Train perform at Stir Concert Cove – and you’ll get to meet Train as well!

Then, off to a five-course gourmet dinner at Slattery Vintage Estates. Then, the towncar will transport the couple back to Omaha.



metroMAGAZINE's ALS-COX CLASSIC SIZZLE Under the Stars Issue is online now! Learn more about this "HOT" event benefiting ALS in the Heartlan...