Sterilization Tech Competes for International Sign Dancing Title


April 2013

You think you know a guy… Ben Kester, a friendly but relatively quiet young man who sterilizes dental instruments at Hillside Health Center, recently asked for time off. As it turns out, Kester needed time off to travel to Las Vegas to compete in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Shaker Board Competition as one of only four sign dancers chosen from Little Caesar’s Pizza restaurants worldwide. 

Sign dancers, or shaker boarders, are hired by companies to attract customers from passing traffic. Sign dancers can often be found at busy intersections, directing people to stop for a pizza or a car wash.

Kester danced his way to third and second place finishes at the Little Caesar’s competitions in 2009 and 2010, respectively, but had to quit sign dancing as a result of a baseball injury to his shoulder. Since then, he only used his sign dancing talent to volunteer once a year to help the Girl Scouts sell their cookies.

Recently, however, he decided to add sign dancing back into his life as a way of getting more exercise. Happily for him, he began his most recent employment with Little Caesar’s Pizza just weeks before the deadline to compete in the championship. The finalists are chosen based on a video they submit. The videos are private, however, to prevent others from stealing other dancers’ moves.

Kester explained the difference between being a good dancer with a sign andbeing a good sign dancer. “There are better dancers than me, but they don’t have control of the board.”  At the sign dancing competition, restaurant owners judge sign dancers on the following question: Who would you want dancing for your restaurant? Kester has been successful because he does more than draw attention with his unique and eye-catching dance moves, he can also freeze his sign at a moment’s notice, when a car or pedestrian is close enough to read the sign.

Kester’s twin brother won the competition three years in a row and was inducted into the Little Caesar’s Shaker Board Hall of Fame, eliminating him from future competitions. Now, the competition is open.

So during the week, Kester will continue to work hard as a Sterilization Technician at Hillside Health Center keeping patients safe; and on Thursday evenings and Saturdays, he’ll perfect his dance moves working as a sign dancer, preparing to dance his way to Little Caesar’s Pizza fame.  He competes in Las Vegas April 30 – May 2, 2013.

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