Strikes for tykes

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Dakotathon’s Making Strikes for Miracles event had over 50 students participate in a bowling tournament to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Monday.

Twelve teams participated in the bowling event at Howler’s Bar and Grille in Vermillion.

“We are trying to get people to enjoy helping our cause,” said senior Ashley Nelson, co-event chair for Dakotathon.

Nelson, who has participated in Dakotathon since her first year at the University of South Dakota, said there was no fundraising goal for the evening, which was held from 8-11 p.m. in Howler’s bowling alley. She first heard about Dance Marathon as a first-year while walking through the Muenster University Center.

With just over 21 weeks until the 2014 Dakotathon, the goal was to get new people to participate in the fundraiser, Nelson said.

First-year Dylan Kirchmeier said he will participate in the 2014 Dakotathon event.

“I want to help raise money,” Kirchmeier said, a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Sigma’s philanthropic project is to benefit Children’s Miracle Network.

Sophomores Carlisa Langerock and Melanie Fetherhuff said they bowled to support their fraternity friends.

“A lot of my friends are involved in Dakotathon,” Fetherhuff said. “I just want to be involved on campus.”

Both Fetherhuff and Langerock said they plan on participating for the first time in the 24-hour Dakotathon event March 15-16.

Monday’s bowling event encouraged students to dress up in costumes. Teams played two rounds of bowling. Prizes were given to the top scorers, winning team and best costume.

Dakotathon’s executive members were auctioned off to help clean other fraternity and sorority houses.

Kirchmeier and his teammates Sam Parkinson and Ryan Palmer won the event’s best costume contest for dressing up as the Jamaican bobsled team from the 1993 movie, “Cool Runnings.”

Dakotathon has been at USD since March 1997, and has raised over $250,000, according to Sanford Health. USD’s event is the longest Dance Marathon in eastern South Dakota lasting 24 hours, while South Dakota State University’s Dance Marathon is 12 hours.

USD’s event has also raised the most money for Children’s Miracle Network in this region of the state. In 2005, the event was the sponsor for an Electroencephalography or EEG room at the new Sanford Children’s Hospital.

The organization raises money year round to support Children’s Miracle Network at Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, the region’s only affiliate of Children’s Miracle Network. Dakotathon’s spotlight event is Dance Marathon in the spring.

Funds are often used to purchase equipment and pay for uncompensated care, but it is up to the individual hospital to decide how to use the funds according to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

According to Sanford Health’s website, the support of Children’s Miracle Network ensures no child is ever turned away, regardless of their ability to pay for healthcare services.

The purposes of Dakotathon is to raise funds and awareness while providing an opportunity for families of patients to be apart of the event, according to Sanford Health’s website.

Students can begin registering and raising money for the 2014 Dakotathon online at