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Pikes hold annual crawfish boil

By Justin Cheatham
On April 18, 2011


The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity (Pikes) hosted its annual crawfish boil April 16, benefiting the Special Olympics and the Commerce Skate Park Project in Commerce.

"I think it's a great opportunity to showcase to the community what amazing philanthropy that they're trying to support," Business Administration graduate student Laurel Flores said. "It brings together not only students on campus but faculty and staff, and even alumni that don't go here anymore yet still love this here so much that they cant wait to come back year after year to support their philanthropy and catch up with old friends."

Of course the event had crawfish, potatoes and corn on the cob. However, when the food ran out, the people kept coming.

"The atmosphere is amazing," Flores said. "What most people don't understand is the daytime is just a precursor to the night, and that's what is amazing. It's fun to see all these different mixtures of people here enjoying, relaxing, having a good meal and enjoying the music; generally just having a good time."

Students, alumni, faculty and staff were not the only people that came to show their support. Commerce residents also showed up to help.

"The food is delicious but the important thing is that it's a campus uniting even that benefits Special Olympics," Assistant Instructor Toni Taherzadeh said. "I'm very supportive of the skate park. Why should the young people in this town not have something to do that they want to do anyways? All we do is complain about them being on the square. Give them a place to go."

Pikes from all around the North Texas area came to support their friends in Commerce.

"They are from all ages, they are usually our ages and two to three hundred come up here and it's the most outrageous thing I have ever seen out of any chapter, really," University of Texas-Arlington senior Nathan Stein said. "But then they have the brothers come out here and the families come out and brothers from other chapters come out to visit, so that's cool. Nothing but a good time, though; you party ‘til the sun goes down and then you party ‘til the sun comes up again."

Supporting the Special Olympics and the Commerce Skate Park Project are the most recent community events the Pikes have supported.

"We were one of the main organizations that were helping out and working with the kids and showing support," junior Justin McGuffey said. "We were, I think, the only fraternity that was actually allowed on the field, which was kind of cool. We have the Special Olympics and we also have the skate park that we just kind of let them come out and do their own kind of thing; let them set up a tent and hold a raffle and let them raise money for them, us, and the community."

The skate park group has been campaigning for funds to build a skate park in Commerce to give young people a safe place to congregate and skate.

"We have been out here all day long selling dollar tickets," group publicist John Lenington said. "There are three benefits to that; the skate park, the Pikes for Special Olympics and then we had a young lady [Lisa Jones] that just donated back to us the prize money for the raffle."

The afternoon featured the band Jonathan Jeter and the Revelations, who have been playing for the Pikes at this event for four years. Jonathan Jeter said that their music blurs the lines between country music, rock ‘n' roll and even blues.  The Pikes and Commerce Skate Park Project hope to put together a battle of the bands to help support more organizations with music.

"The Pikes are going to help us on May 7 with our battle of the bands," Lenington said. "We are going to have a contest and the winner will get free studio time. We hope to raise a bunch more money there."

Though the event was centered on fun and games, like horseshoes and washers, many of the people at the event focused on a central theme: supporting good causes.

"It was kind of nice to be able to help three different things out at once," McGuffey said. "We helped a lot and got our name out there with the big event and worked with the skate park group by going to their events and them coming to ours, so it is kind of like a tandem thing."

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