Maureen Shea is People’s Choice Winner in Oxnard Salsa Festival’s “Dancing With Our Community Stars Contest”

Oxnard, Calif. – Maureen Shea is the People’s Choice winner of the Oxnard Salsa Festival’s 2018 “Dancing With Our Community Stars Dance Contest and Charity Fundraiser.” Dancers practiced their salsa moves over seven weeks and then competed on the festival’s main dance floor on July 29.

The People’s Choice award is given to the dancer who raised the most money for his or her selected charity. Shea, one of five contestants, raised $35,500 for The City Center in Ventura, a non-government funded, transitional living community for homeless families, often single-parent families, who need safe temporary housing.

Shea is a two-time world champion boxer, motivational speaker, boxing commentator and TV personality. She is considered “The Real Million Dollar Baby,” having served as Hilary Swank’s primary sparring partner in Swank’s Oscar award-winning role in Million Dollar Baby. As a domestic violence survivor, Shea shares her story of hope, strength and support with the women at The City Center.

“Participating in the dance contest was an emotionally, mentally and physically challenging experience,” says Shea. “It was a lot of hard work and commitment but my main focus was always on why I was competing—to raise money to help the families at The City Center.”

In the 12 years of Dancing With Our Community Stars, the event has raised over $850,000 for local non-profit organizations. 

Shea was also named the contest’s Women’s Division winner. Her dancer instructor was Jesse “Chuy” Rodriguez. The four other 2018 dance contestants and their charities were:

Alex Vega, the Men’s Division winner, Ventura County Community Development Corporation

Andres Fernandez, Children’s Services Auxiliary of Ventura County

Dr. Cassie Woods-Peirce, United States Adaptive Recreation Center

Emily Barany, Thomas Fire Help

Also on July 29, food judges sampled 18 amateur salsa recipes and selected their favorites. Here are the winners: Carolina Castañeda from Pasadena (best red, best green and best hot), Lorenzo Carrillo from Oxnard (best medium) and Karen Silvers from Chatsworth (best specialty/fruit, best mild). Silvers’ salsa also received the Judge’s Choice award. Her mango recipe is a family tradition passed down by her mother Patricia Limon. Silvers added her own personal touches.

Maureen Shea and Chuy Rodriguez


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