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Old Fat Guy Idol raises breast cancer awareness

Published: Monday, April 22, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Gary L. Gates)
Larry Meredith performs Saturday during Old Fat Guy Idol at Pub West in Waterman. The event raised funds for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

WATERMAN – Saturday was one of the busiest nights for Pub West bar in Waterman. Waiters and bartenders worked frantically to serve their customers.

The customers were all there for the same reason: to support the fight against breast cancer.

Three old high school friends – Larry Meredith, Chuck Wesenberg and Bob Strausberger – participated in a singing competition called Old Fat Guy Idol. All proceeds went toward the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Meredith helped raise money because he is walking in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day For the Cure, which is a 60-mile journey in August that takes place over three days.

It costs $2,390 for an individual to participates.

“Larry is dead set trying to find a cure for this nasty disease,” Strausberger said. “I’m going to jump on board and try to help him the best I can. They would have done the same for me.”

The event raised about $4,441, which is $700 less than last year, said Lisa Youngdahl, event organizer.

Meredith said he will use the extra money they raised to help fund other walkers’ journeys.

“If it means other people can’t walk, then why should I keep the money?” he said.

The three singers each sang three songs, then sang together in the final round. Buckets with each singer’s name were placed in front of the stage so people could choose who their favorite was throughout the night.

Strausberger won the competition, meaning he raised the most money. He also won last year.

The singers performed with a band, whose members traveled as far as Michigan to play for free. It is the only gig the band does together all year, Wesenberg said.

“The band has put in 10 times the amount of hours than we have,” Strausberger said. “They drove hours and hours and hours.”

DeKalb resident Pat Herrmann appreciated how many people donated their time and money for no benefit of their own, he said.

“There are no losers here tonight,” Herrmann said. “That’s the beautiful thing.”

Each woman who entered the bar received a pink rose made of balsam wood. Strausberger’s wife, Karin, passed them out to people.

The roses each had a ribbon tied to them, which Karin Strausberger tied herself. The ribbons had the symbol of breast cancer, a pink ribbon, printed on them.

There also was a raffle for the event. People could win a range of prizes from baked treats to free zumba classes.

Jeff Hart brought his pink tractor to the event. He painted the tractor pink because his mom and his friend’s mom both had breast cancer.

Hart’s tractor participates in tractor pulls, and the money he makes also goes to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Youngdahl said she researched the foundation because of the recent controversy. The Susan G. Komen Foundation eliminated financing breast cancer screening run by Planned Parenthood last year, which upset some people.

“They put a lot of money for preventative services and screenings where people don’t have a lot of money to do it,” Youngdahl said.

People can still donate to Meredith’s cause. Go to and click on “Vote Online.”

Since the voting has closed, it doesn’t matter who you vote for. All proceeds will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

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