Mayor Shane Bemis danced as Elvis

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: CARL TEBBENS - Mayor Shane Bemis, aka Elvis, replete with spray tan, pompadour and gold-rimmed shades, shakes a leg with his partner Dory Durrell during the 2014 Dancing With the Elks competition. by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: CARL TEBBENS - Carla Piluso, center, former Gresham chief of police and candidate for House District 50, answers questions from co-emcee Kathy Thienes with her dance partner, John Copeland, right, after competing in the annual Dancing With the Elks CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: CARL TEBBENS - Cory Williamson (mother of Mayor Shane Bemis), left, and Ted Flug won the fifth annual Dancing With the Elks competition for their moves in the dance floor and for raising the most money to underwrite live music for club throughout the year.   by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: CARL TEBBENS - Competing in this years Dancing With the Elks fundraiser were, from left, Larry Green, Linda Copeland, District 50 candidate Carla Piluso, John Copeland, Ted Flug, Cory Williamson, Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis aka Elvis, Dory Durrel, Deb Price and Mike Durrell. Even though he was dressed as Elvis and threw down some pretty good moves, Mayor Shane Bemis and his partner Dory Durrell didn't win Dancing With the Elks. They lost to his mother.

Bemis' mom, Cory Williamson, wore a short black-fringed dress and a denim jacket when she and partner Ted Flug jitterbugged and be-bopped around the floor, even showing off some semi-aerial moves when he flipped her up on his back at one point. But judges gave them only a four. Then bidding began for members of the audience to put money in a “money bucket,” essentially bribing the judges to raise each contestant's score.

That's how Dancing With the Elks works. It's a fundraiser for the lodge's entertainment fund to pay for live music for Elks' weekend dances throughout the year. Five couples took part in the competition, and judges Tina Tebbens, Don Green and Tony Owsian joked with the contestants and extolled the audience to contribute more after each dance.

First to dance were Deb Price, exalted ruler of Lodge 1805, and Mike Durrell, who opened the competition with a rumba.

When Williamson and Flug finished their dance, Bemis, sporting a spray tan and black pompadour wig, was the first to contribute. He strode from backstage in his full Elvis regalia, slapped down a bill and strode off with a look of defiance. When asked by co-emcee Kathy Thienes who would win, Williamson looked her son's way said, “It's on.”

Hilarity ensued for the most part during the evening, with imaginative costumes including those of Linda Copeland, dressed as a policewoman, and Larry Green, dressed in convict stripes, dancing to “Jailhouse Rock.” His crime? Bribing the judges, which gave them an edge when it came time to vote.

Carla Piluso, former Gresham police chief and candidate for House District 50, didn't resemble a cop much as she danced a graceful waltz with upswept hair in a black, beaded cocktail dress with handkerchief hemline. Her partner was John Copeland, code enforcement officer for the city of Troutdale.

The evening closed out with a fast-paced swing dance by Bemis and his mom, but only after they were bribed by someone in the audience for $200 — for the entertainment fund.

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