Blondes and brunettes take field to tackle Alzheimer's

1603927-2066565600_sm_1400791073_sm_14007910731
The Spectrum

Bouncy blondes and bodacious brunettes will be tearing up the Sweet Home High School football field on Saturday afternoon.

Two teams of women will be playing in the second annual Powder-Puff Smackdown, featuring the ever-present rivalry between blondes and brunettes. The women will be competing in a flag football game to raise awareness and fundraise to help support the Alzheimer's Association of WNY.

This unique philanthropic event is completely volunteer-driven, featuring more than 60 spirited athletes fundraising for a common cause. The players will compete in four 15-minute quarters to determine who reigns supreme.

Sara Abbott and Ryan Triplette originally founded

this fun, yet competitive event in 2005 in Washingon, D.C. Buffalo is the fifth city to join in on this effort.

In Buffalo's BvB inaugural year, the teams finished the game with a 12-12 tie. This year, each team thinks they have what it takes to win. There are about 35 athletes on each team, with women ranging in age from their early 20s to young 40s.

"We have had about seven practices and we're going to use our vast brunette intelligence to throw [the blondes] off their game. They won't even see it coming," said Nicholas Primerano, a UB alumnus and head coach for Buffalo's brunettes. "We are going to be running some different formations: ‘power I', ‘broken I,' a few draw plays and a few other tricks too."

Mark Warnes, a personal trainer at Gold's Gym and coach of Buffalo's blondes, is extremely optimistic about winning as well.

"Last year we were the underdogs. This year the team numbers are equal. The blondes definitely reign supreme. We will win," Warnes said. "I am more than confident that we are prepared to take on the brunettes and then some."

Last year's event raised over $25,000 for the Alzheimer's Association, building Alzheimer's awareness in a younger generation. The women are striving to raise even more money this year while educating even more people about this devastating disease by setting a $50,000 goal. Each team has set a goal to raise at least $10,000, or about $250 per player.

"My uncle suffered from the disease, so I'm playing for those with the disease and the caregivers, who are also greatly affected," said Tracey Callisto, the co-chair of the event and a member of the brunette team.

First-time participant Dana Christmann, a UB alumna representing the blondes, said that they are using their "blondes have more fun attitude" to win the game.

"I work in the Health and Human Service field at the Cantalician center and I see more and more people affected by this disease," Christmann said. "I love football and this seemed like a fun way to raise money for a great cause."

Callisto reported that she has raised over $500. Christmann has raised over $200 and, as of press time, about $21,000 has been raised in total.

Tickets can be purchased the day of the event for $10. Admission provides for an after party at Shenanigan's on Niagara Falls Boulevard as well. Play-by-play will be announced throughout the game with the help of 97 Rock's Jickster, and additional commentary will be done by Buffalo's "Wing King" Drew Cereza.

The Buffalo Jills will provide halftime entertainment, while the traditional powder-puff male cheerleaders will take a rest. Buffalo Bills' alumnus Jeff Nixon will also be present to help support the cause.

Primerano, Warnes and Callisto all commented that they have a lot of competitive and naturally talented athletes taking the field. Also, a few Buffalo celebrities will take part in the game.

All proceeds will go to the Alzheimer's Association of WNY. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday at Sweet Home High School, located at 1901 Sweet Home Road.