Happy feet: Former Ute Steve Smith hosts fundraiser

Feb 1 2013 - 10:56pm

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You may not have received an invite -- neither did I -- but NFL Pro Bowler and former Ute receiver Steve Smith hosted a "Kick Off Your Shoes" fundraiser benefiting Samaritan's Feet on Wednesday in New Orleans as part of Super Bowl XLVII festivities. The dinner took place in New Orleans, at chef John Besh's restaurant AUGUST.

Samaritan's Feet (www.samaritansfeet.org) is a humanitarian relief organization that washes the feet of the homeless and families in need and provides them with new shoes and socks. Since its inception in 2003, the group has donated more than 3 million pairs of shoes.

As part of the "Kick Off Your Shoes" cocktail party and dinner, athletes and celebrities donated signed shoes for the "Barefoot Auction." NFL players have been signing their game-worn cleats throughout the season to be auctioned at the event.

Smith is the current NFL ambassador to Samaritan's Feet. Smith hopes that his efforts will allow for upward of 500,000 pairs of shoes over the next three years.

Paying tribute

On Friday, Ogden High added six members to its OHS Hall of Fame. The group was honored at halftime of the Ogden-Tooele boys basketball game.

The 2013 class of honorees includes Nicky Wangsgard, a basketball, tennis and track and field standout; Craig Slama, who played football and basketball at OHS; Ann Avondet Gilbert, who starred in volleyball, golf, basketball and tennis; Joe Liljenquist, a star in football, baseball and basketball; Henry Owens, a track and field and football star; and Phil Russell, who attended Tooele, but has impacted OHS through the years as a coach and athletic director.

Next Friday, Ben Lomond High will honor the members of its 1986 boys basketball state championship team at halftime of its game with Ogden. Coach Evan Excell, stars Kurt Miller and Larry Cain as well as many others on the squad are expected to attend.

Tidbits

We note the passing of former PRCA steer wrestler, pickup man and rodeo judge Billy Joe Nicholas of Hooper. He died on Jan. 18 at age 75. ...

Weber State will hold its annual Football Signing Day Party this Wednesday to announce the 2013 signing class. Coach Jody Sears will introduce the signees at 6 p.m. on the third floor of Stewart Stadium. Admission is free and all fans are invited to attend. ...

Utah State football earned another national recognition, but this one came in the classroom as USU was ranked ninth in the nation for academic performance according to the Academic Bowl Championship Series Poll. Northwestern was first in the Academic BCS standings, followed by Northern Illinois, Boise State, Stanford and Notre Dame. ...

The Harlem Globetrotters will visit EnergySolutions Arena on Feb. 11. ... Former Utah basketball star Keith Van Horn has been elected to the 2013 Pac-12 Hall of Honor. He will be the second Runnin' Ute inductee, joining last year's selection, Arnie Ferrin. ...

USU's Big Blue Scholarship Fund will hold its annual Aggie Auction on Feb. 8 at the Riverwoods Conference Center in Logan. The event includes a silent auction and dinner, followed by a live auction. Tickets are $150 per person. To reserve a spot, call Jeremy Winn at 435-797-3456 or visit utahstateaggies.com.

Chris J. Miller is sports editor for the Standard-Examiner. He can be reached at 801-625-4261 or cmiller@standard.net.

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