Dara Spires, wife of DE Greg Spires, models an outfit on the runway
The crowd cheered loudly, and some spectators even gave a standing ovation as Griese, Pittman, Simms and Spires gave a final wave to the crowd following their magnificent performances. On this occasion, however, it was not Brian, Michael, Chris and Greg who were the recipients of the praise, and the performances did not take place on the gridiron. Instead, the applause recognized the wives of many Buccaneer players who volunteered their afternoons to help raise money for a great cause.
Several members of the Buccaneers Women's Organization participated in The 16th Annual Holiday Fashion Show to benefit a local women's hospital. Kiersten Allen, Jacqueline Arteaga, Jeanne Bisaccia, Brook Griese, Cindy Gruden, Nikki Johnson, Meagan Jurevicius, Melissa Pittman, Maria Savage, Danielle Simms, Dara Spires and Erica Steussie all graced the catwalk at the Hyatt Regency on Thursday, December 2 to model fashions from Georgette's in Old Hyde Park Village.
Aside from funds raised through ticket sales to the show and luncheon, the event also included both a silent auction and a live auction.
For many of the women it was the first time strutting their stuff on the runway, a feat that can be quite intimidating. Each Buccaneer woman modeled four outfits ranging from formal evening wear to casual apparel. After their initial walks downstage, most of the women's nerves wore off a bit. It was agreed, however, that it was worth the nervousness to benefit such an important facility.
"It's a bit nerve-racking, but well worth it. I felt very nervous at first, but it's fun now," said Spires, wife of defensive end Greg Spires, after her first jaunt down the runway.
Melissa Pittman, running back Michael Pittman's wife, had previously appeared in a fashion show, and she says the camaraderie with other wives, as well as the cause, motivated her to participate in this show.
"The wives don't always get to get together, so this show gives us a chance to get to know the new wives and to get to know the wives that have been here for awhile a little better. It's a good time to hang out and have fun.
"It definitely adds to the excitement of the show that the proceeds benefit a women's hospital. As women, it's great to know the facility is there and that there are functions to raise money for what is needed over there," said Pittman.
Danielle Simms, newly wed to quarterback Chris Simms, once refused to model fashions she had designed while taking a class in high school. She overcame her stage fright and took a major step, or many graceful steps, to help the women's center. Now she says this show probably wasn't her last.
"I had a lot of fun. It was really rewarding seeing all the women out here for a good cause. I think I would do it again next year just because of the fact that it benefits an organization that helps out other women," said Simms.