Kershaw's first BBQ and Hoedown a success
Texas-themed event raises money for Dodgers ace's charity efforts in Zambia
LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw is far away from his hometown in Texas playing for the Dodgers. On Thursday, he brought some home cooking to Los Angeles as he and his wife, Ellen, hosted Clayton's Texas BBQ and Hoedown at Dodger Stadium to raise money for their charity, Kershaw's Challenge.
It was the first year of the charity event, which included a concert by Grammy-nominated recording artist Pat Green, and a number of Dodger players like A.J. Ellis and Chad Billingsley came out to support their teammate and his cause.
"It was mainly Ellen's idea, but we wanted to bring a little bit of Texas back to L.A.," Clayton said before line dancing for a couple of songs. "It's worked out really well.
"To have some teammates here because Ellen worked so hard, it's a really cool event."
The BBQ and Hoedown, which had more than 250 guests, included a raffle and both a silent and live auction, as well as country music and line dancing.
Money raised from the event will go toward the couple's efforts in Zambia, which Ellen and Clayton have visited a number of times to help build Hope's Home, an orphanage for 10-12 children. Clayton said the next step for them is to finish up the home and move the kids.
"It's one of the coolest things for me, to see [Clayton] in Zambia," Ellen said. "He's like a jungle gym for kids. They jump all over him at all times. It's really cool for me to share my passion with him."
The idea for the BBQ and Hoedown started a few months ago, and the event was created to help Ellen and Clayton explain their passion for helping kids in Zambia. They released a book earlier this year called "Arise: Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field You Field Yourself."
Thursday's event is one of many charitable causes the Dodgers star pitcher is involved with to help raise money for Kershaw's Challenge. This season, he is "Striking out to Serve" by donating money to his charity after every batter he strikes out.
A large portion of the proceeds to the couple's charity goes to their efforts in Africa, but they also donate a portion of the money raised to a number of other charities.
Earlier this season, Billingsley hosted the Dodger charity golf tournament and James Loney is hosting a charity bowling tournament later this month. These are just a few examples of all the philanthropic events the team puts on year round.
"It's how we connect with our customers and connect with our fans when they are not just at a ballpark or sitting on the couch watching us on TV," new owner Stan Kasten said about the work the Dodgers do in the community. "It's also the right thing to do. Everyone who gives their time feels that way. I'm very proud of this particular group of players. It's nice to be with a very special group of guys."
Kasten, who is from Georgia, said he left his cowboy boots at home so he sat out of the evening's line dancing. However, Clayton was front and center on the dance floor with his wife and a pair of boots on.
As for how he did, Ellen wasn't too impressed.
"You've got to work on those," she said to her husband about his dance moves. "You're not representing Texas real well."
"I don't two step," Clayton responded before heading back for some mingling, mac 'n' cheese and ribs.
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.