Local residents and other supporters dug deep into their pockets and helped 18 Relay teams collect $58,132 for the American Cancer Society this year.
"I believe the Relay was a success considering the economy," said Mandy Barnes, South Barry County Relay For Life chair. "The Committee and I would like to thank the community, the teams and the people who stopped by to support the survivors."
The 2009 Relay For Life began with the celebratory Survivor's Lap, which attracted over 50 survivors. Community members cheered on those who have won the battle with cancer as they completed the first lap around the stadium track.
After the honorary Survivors' Lap was completed, team members descended on the track to begin the 12-hour relay that continued through the night.
At dusk, hundreds of luminarias, which were purchased in honor of those who have lost their battle or are still battling cancer, were lit along the edges of the track. A slideshow featuring the names and photos of friends and loved ones was shown during the solemn ceremony.
This year's Relay also featured the second annual Fight Back ceremony, which gave participants an opportunity to learn valuable information about screenings and early detection.
The eighth annual Relay For Life drag queen contest was held near midnight. Six brave men donned costumes and a great attitude to help their teams collect extra funds for this year's Relay.
After entertaining the Relay crowd by dancing around the track, the "lovely ladies" collected money in their purses and hats. When the funds were totalled James "Shaniqua" McManus, of Mercy Me Monkeys, was crowned this year's winner.
During closing ceremonies on Saturday morning, the Fasco team was recognized as the team that raised the most funds this year. The team collected $6,607.85 for the Relay.
Carol Coleman was recognized as the individual who collected the most money. She raised $2,000 for the event.
Mz. Trippo's team, which raised $5,857.19 this year, was recognized as the team that walked the most laps during the event. Team members completed 500 trips around the track during the 12-hour event.
Teams that raised over $1,500 and reached the bronze fundraising total this year included: Commerce Bank, Freedom Bank, Lighthouse of Hope, Walmart, Hope in Shell Knob, the Shell Knob Warriors and Jill's Jewels.
Fasco, Fishin' For a Cure, Mz. Trippo's and Mercy Me Monkeys raised over $5,000 and reached the silver fundraising level.
Other teams that participated in this year's event were: Exeter FFA, George's, the Victory Walkers, the Smarties-SADD, Shell Knob, and Hearts For a Cure.
Several local businesses supported the 2009 Relay For Life by serving as corporate sponsors. They included: St. John's Hospital-Cassville; Weiser Tent; The Playce; Cassville Rotary Club; Fasco; Commerce Bank; Thrivent Financial for Lutherans; Freedom Bank; Security Bank; Mill Street Church of Christ; Mz. Trippo's Cleaning Service; Victory Baptist Church; Cassville Democrat; Lane Truman; Plaza Pharmacy in Shell Knob; St. John's Clinic-Shell Knob; George's Processing, Inc.; and Cassville FFA.
Spring Creek Custom Machining; MariCorp US, Shell Knob; Junction 76/86 Highway Boat, RV and Mini Storage; L & L Auto Parts; Campbell Point Marina; Pizza Hut; Country Fresh Market; Red Barn; Fohn Funeral Homes; Walmart; Mercy/St. John's-Shell Knob; Thrifty Closet; Lions Club; American Legion; John Sullivan; Barton's, of Shell Knob; Arvest Bank; B&J Smokehouse; Hutchen's Construction; and Dr. Peter Rashe.