by Alison Houston
IF YOU live around the Kincumber area, you're likely to have seen a lot of this man lately, Peter Steele ... and his cardboard alter ego Salsa Pete.
The Kincumber Mitre 10 director is one of this year's 10 entrants in the Stars of the Central Coast Dance for Cancer and he's determined to give it his all.
That includes giving his staff free rein to join in the fundraising and promotion, which they have done with unbounded enthusiasm.
"We've got 54 great staff here and they get behind everything we throw at them," Peter said, pointing to last year's Beyond Blue fundraiser in which they all dyed their hair blue and shaved it.
And for the Dance for Cancer, they have outdone themselves.
"I went away for a week and when I came back, to my surprise there were lifesize cut-outs of me throughout the entire store with the #SalsaPete ... and he's been popping up at all sorts of events," Peter said.
A Salsa Pete had even turned up at the Mitre 10 National conference in Adelaide, attended by representatives of some 900 stores.
Peter has also noticed a large number of masks of his face at the store, but said he's too scared to ask staff what they are for.
The Dance for Cancer is modelled after TV's Dancing with the Stars and pits contestants against each other in dance styles selected for them.
They have eight weeks to perfect their routine with a professional trainer, before performing to a sell-out audience at the Laycock Street Theatre on Friday, May 11 and being judged.
Cancer Council NSW organiser Jaynie Moloney said that tickets were almost gone after just two weeks on sale, a record for the event, which over the past four years has raised $500,000.
Peter reckoned it didn't matter which dance style he was given, he was going to be under the gun.
"I grew up in the disco era when guys stood in the corner and drank while the women danced," he laughed.
"But it's not about the dancing, it's what it's for.
"Everyone's been touched by cancer in some way and what the Cancer Council NSW does for the community is unbelievable; you don't get any better cause."
However, he admits it wasn't until a staff member Googled Latin Dancing for him that he really knew what he was in for.
"Being out of your comfort zone sometimes isn't such a bad thing, and it's nothing compared to what people with cancer are going through," he said.
While flying the flag for the over-50s along with Star 104.5FM general manager Paul Moltzen, Peter said "he knew his limitations" and wasn't expecting to take home the winning dance trophy on the gala night.
"At the moment all the contestants are all really nervous and supporting each other, but I reckon as it gets a bit closer to the competition the competitive juices will start running," Peter said.
With Nicole King as his trainer, he was determined to "put something together that won't embarrass her or the Cancer Council, so I'll be putting everything into it."
- Peter's major fundraiser is a Street Party on Thursday, March 29 from 6-9pm in the Kincumber Mitre 10 carpark.
Tickets are $25 per person or $50 for families and will include street food, bar, live entertainment and activities for the kids, massive give-aways, raffles, silent auction and instore bargains, with every cent raised going to the Cancer Council. Tickets are available on Facebook or on the day.
- There's also a group raffle underway until May 11, with a huge range of prizes and tickets just $5.
- Make a donation on line to any of the 10 contestants - just Google Stars of the Central Coast 2018 to find out more about the event, contestants and how to donate.