Cheers erupted from the crowd as soon as the black luxury buses rolled up Saturday morning. And out poured the stars, all clad in black and teal bowling shirts, ready for their Big Slick Celebrity Weekend charity bowling tournament at Pinstripes in Overland Park.
But first they had hundreds of fans to greet along the long red carpet outside. The guests included actors James van der Beek, Kevin Pollak and Kevin Rahm and funny guys Johnny Knoxville and Weird Al Yankovic.
Some of the guests were hometown guys: David Dastmalchian, who co-starred with Big Slick host Paul Rudd in “Ant-Man” and was showing off his Shawnee Mission South T-shirt under his bowling shirt; Randy Flagler of TV’s “Chicago Fire,” another South alum; and “American Idol” winner David Cook, a Blue Springs South graduate.
Perhaps the biggest whoops and applause were reserved for the five hometown celebrity hosts: Rudd, Jason Sudeikis, Eric Stonestreet, Rob Riggle and David Koechner.
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Rudd made sure to sign dozens of autographs, pose for selfies and throw a few bags of chips to hungry fans.
Stonestreet was one of the last celebrities to head inside for the bowling tournament, because he and a little stuffed bunny rabbit were busy entertaining a young Children’s Mercy hospital patient watching the red carpet:
Kansas City “is arguably the greatest city in the world,” Sudeikis, who grew up in Overland Park, told the adoring crowd. “And I count Grandview all the way to Lenexa. I count it all. It’s the greater Kansas City area, because it doesn’t get greater than Kansas City.”
Since 2010, Big Slick has donated more than $4.5 million to the Cancer Center at Children’s Mercy, helping to pay for expansions to provide better stays for patients and families, for groundbreaking research and for the purchase of advanced medical equipment. Last year alone, the event raised more than $1.3 million, its biggest haul yet.
This year’s total will be announced at the conclusion of the sold-out auction and party Saturday night at the Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland.
On Thursday, Koechner, Rudd and Riggle stopped in at the hospital to entertain some of the staff with stand-up comedy and a lively Q&A session, where they revealed some of their favorite spots around Kansas City.
For details and to donate, see bigslickkc.org.
Jacob Gedetsis: 816-234-4416, @jacobgedetsis