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Annual Godstock fundraiser taking place on Saturday

SALISBURY — Mayor Paul Woodson and other dignitaries will break boards Saturday at the Godstock 2013 Bushido Warrior sparring event to help raise money for sick kids.
The 10th annual tournament and fundraiser will open for the first time with the Breakthrough, featuring more than a dozen community and nonprofit leaders breaking boards with their hands. James “Bonecrusher” Smith, former world heavyweight champion, will appear as a special guest.
Twins Ricky and Randy Smith of Sidekick Karate will give Woodson, the Rev. Kenneth Lance of First Baptist Church and others a few tips before they attempt the feat as part of the opening ceremony.
Doors open at 9:30 a.m. at First Baptist’s ministry center at 220 N. Fulton St., the former Salisbury YMCA. Admission is $3.
Board breaking by dignitaries will begin at 10:45 a.m., part of an awards ceremony to recognize the children who raise the most money for Godstock. Other board breakers will include the Smith twins, Bonecrusher, Rod Kerr of First Baptist Church, Mike Stout and Randy Basinger of Godstock and Pastor Michael Marshall of Lexington, a black belt student at Sidekick.
Scottie Safrit will break a board on behalf of the Daniel L. Safrit P.R.A.I.S.E. Foundation, an anti-bullying organization named for his son, who committed suicide this year after being bullied.
Hunter and Riley Nicole Brown will break boards on behalf of the family of Rodney Neale Brown, who passed away in 2004 at age 18 after battling leukemia and inspired Sidekick’s annual fundraiser for Godstock.
Representatives from event sponsors also will break boards, including Lowe’s, Courtyard Marriott and Nerium.
Children must raise at least $40 to spar or break boards in the tournament. All proceeds go to Godstock, an organization founded in 1994 in Rowan County by John Bouk to help meet the basic needs of families who have a child with cancer or other serious disease.
Sidekick’s annual Godstock fundraiser should top the $100,000 mark this year after a decade of sparring for a good cause, said Ricky Smith, who owns the karate school with his wife, Edie Smith.
“I’m tickled to death,” Bouk said. “A lot of years, this is the biggest event of the year for Godstock.”
Bouk said he has always wanted children to be involved in raising money for Godstock. While many fundraising events must rely on adults to solicit donations, the sparring and board breaking tournament offers kids a chance to help directly, he said.
“This way, the kids can raise the money themselves,” Bouk said. “This is kids helping kids.” Children who plan to spar or break boards are taking pledges throughout Rowan County and surrounding areas.
More than 150 kids ages four to nine are expected to participate from karate schools including Bill Daniels of Welcome, Brian Meretz of Lexington, Ronnie Isenhour of Salisbury, Tola Rose of Salisbury, Madison Hobbs of Kannapolis, Coundry Tae Kwon Do of Rockwell, Mike Allison of Concord, Benny Phifer of Statesville, Danny McCall of Denver and Sidekick Karate of Salisbury, China Grove and Concord.
All karate schools are welcome, Ricky Smith said, who will raise the hands of both participants at the end of each match.
“I don’t call a winner. This is not a competition between schools to see who has the best fighter,” he said. “The winners are the sick kids.”
The event will feature entertainment by DJ Cindy K Music and a seven-foot tall trophy for the top fundraiser. Other fundraisers can win Bushido warrior posters, T-shirts and swords.
The Bushido Warrior event — named for a type of Japanese warrior and a code of honor — was held for the past six years in southern Rowan County and promoted by Robert and Carrie Taylor, who own Sidekick Karate in China Grove. The event has moved back to Salisbury, where it began in 2004.
To learn more, go to www.sidekickmma.com or call 704-202-6454.

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