The fourth-annual Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational weekend got underway on Friday evening with the 'Dancing with the Smiths' gala on the third level of the sparkling Omni Dallas Hotel. The red carpet affair featured many of Smith's friends from his illustrious career as the NFL's all-time leading rusher and his time on the hit show Dancing with the Stars.
Familiar faces to walk the red carpet included former Dallas Cowboys Darren Woodson, Daryl Johnston, Jay Novacek, Charles Haley and Rocket Ismail, NFL legends Eric Dickerson, Marcus Allen and Marshall Faulk, former Major League Baseball All-Stars David Justice and Kenny Lofton, actor Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air), actor-comedian Anthony Anderson, former Dallas Mavericks Michael Finley, Darrell Armstrong and Rolando Blackmon, Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson, former NBA head coach Del Harris, former Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco and Dancing with the Stars Tony Dovolani and Melissa Rycroft.
Where last year's event in Frisco reunited the 1992 Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys, this year involved a dinner and entertainment show based around his time on the hit ABC show. The live show and dinner featured dancers from Studio 22, the Dallas-based studio where Emmitt trained for his time on the show. The show began with Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders introducing Dovolani and Rycroft as the fill-in hosts for the evening due to host Tom Bergeron being ill and ended with a great dance by Sergey Korshunov from Studio 22 and Pat Smith.
The real reason for the big weekend and the gala is to raise money for Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, partners with nationally respected nonprofits to provide educational and enrichment opportunities for underserved children. With items up for auction including going to Cabo with the Smiths and playing in the Waste Management Phoenix Open Pro-Am with Smith and Michael Phelps -- after flying to Phoenix on the Waste Management private jet and hotel included -- $1 million was raised for the charity.
For many in attendance, the gala was only the beginning as the next morning featured the celebrity golf tournament at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney. But once the dancing ended, the music began as popular local band Emerald City took the stage and played deep into the downtown Dallas night.
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