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Soboba's annual Lip Sync Contest brings out the best


Last updated 7/15/2019 at 6:32am

Rodrigo Pena Photography photo

T.H.E. Center's Executive Director Miguel Sarasa, left, stands with "Lady Gaga" who performed the first-place act at the 12th annual Lip Sync Contest presented by the Soboba Foundation and Soboba Casino Resort, June 28.

SAN JACINTO – A dozen nonprofits benefited from the 12th annual Lip Sync Contest presented by the Soboba Foundation and Soboba Casino Resort, but each one of them had to earn their payout by performing in front of about 600 guests at the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians' new event center, June 28.

Prize money totaling $14,000 was divided among the 12 acts.

Rose Salgado, who established the Lip Sync Contest 12 years ago to unite the community in a fun and competitive spirit of giving to those in need, was one of the judges. Other judges were Mia Basquez, who co-hosted the event last year with Andrew Vallejos, Catherine "Cat" Modesto and Thomas Riesgo.

Michelle Modesto, who joined Vallejos as co-host this year, started the evening off with her rendition of Amy Winehouse's hit "Rehab." Modesto was a judge last year and currently serves as secretary for the Soboba Foundation board. She was raised on the Soboba Indian Reservation and works for Soboba Tribal Administration.

Hemet Mayor Bonnie Wright said the contest, held at the new venue this year, was a night to remember because of the fun and entertainment provided by the co-hosts and all the contestants.

"We greatly appreciate the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians putting on this event for the past 12 years to help so many nonprofits," she said.

First place and $5,000 was awarded to T.H.E. Center, Inc. which is dedicated to improving the physical and psychological well-being of its students through its equine-assisted activities and therapies. A performance by "Lady Gaga" recreating her debut single "Just Dance" was a real showstopper that opened the second half of the show.

T.H.E. Center's Executive Director Miguel Sarasa said he was a little shocked when his organization won because he felt all the other groups did so great. He has participated in the contest for the past six years and said it's always a pleasure to support the Soboba Foundation after all they do for the San Jacinto Valley and nonprofits everywhere.

Second place and $2,500 was earned by last year's first-place finishers Up, Down & Dirty 4 A Cure Mud Run. The organization puts on an annual 5-kilometer fun run and festival to raise funds for the mission of the American Cancer Society. Three men performed a medley of 90s hits for their entry.

The Tahquitz High School Cheer Program, comprised of cheer mothers, fathers and coaches, channeled Britney Spears and earned $1,500 for a third-place finish. The Hemet-based group has become a recognized leader among area high school cheer programs.

Rodrigo Pena Photography photo

Michelle Modesto and Andrew Vallejos co-host the 12th annual Lip Sync Contest presented by the Soboba Foundation and Soboba Casino Resort as 12 nonprofit organizations earned prize money for participating in the program.

Divine Appointment Worship Center in San Jacinto delivered a powerful message with its performance of "Glory" by John Legend and rapper Common. It secured them a fourth-place spot and a $1,000 check. The church is focused on building a better community through its after-school and mentorship program for youth.

Other groups each received $500 and a specific award based on their performance. Hemet-San Jacinto Valley Chamber of Commerce won Best Choreography; Relay for Life won Best Song and Kiwanis Club of Hemet won Best Costume. San Jacinto Unified School District received Most Entertaining; Hemet Sunset Rotary Club earned Best Props and Tiny Titans Cheerleading was awarded Most Creative. San Jacinto Education Foundation was Most Original, and The Valley Queens Foundation was Most Dramatic.

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Submitted by Soboba Foundation.


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