By day, Roxanne Walker deals with the local news media and administers one of the most successful volunteer Citizens on Patrol programs in the Victor Valley. By night, Hesperia's police department spokeswoman is carving it up on the dance floor as she gets ready to compete in the third annual Sunset Hills Dancing With The Stars event.


While this is Walker's first "star" experience, she is no stranger to the stage. In fact, she met dance partner Paul Peterson, a ballroom dance instructor at Dancetime Studios in Victorville, when the two were actors in the High Desert Center For The Arts production of "Murder on the Mojave." Peterson played a maid while Walker was cast as a deputy sheriff in the local whodunnit.


But it's dancing, not acting, that she favors.


"I've just always loved to dance," Walker said. "I took jazz, tap and ballet. I really enjoy it."


After the two were paired by event organizer Catherine Wilkinson about a month ago, Peterson decided to test the waters slowly.


"We started working on a fox trot," he said. "It's the most popular get-acquainted dance."


Then Walker and Peterson decided on two dances for the May 8 event: a fox trot to Cole Porter's "DeLovely" and a west coast swing to a mash-up of "Take Me To The River" and "Mustang Sally."


But finding the time to rehearse hasn't been easy. Walker works days, and Peterson, when he's not instructing dance classes, works as a bartender at a Victorville bar at night.


"She's stressing a little bit," Peterson said. "It's been a little bit challenging to coordinate times."


But, according to Walker, "Just remembering [the steps] is the tricky part for me."


Despite the challenges, the two are making progress and enjoying the process.


"I love both dances," Walker said. "Paul's a great instructor. He's very patient."


This year, 10 couples will compete both before and during the event. Votes, which cost $20 each, can be cast at a website dedicated to the event.


"There will be voting until the last performance," said Wilkinson, executive director of the Sunset Hills Children's Foundation. "So if someone wants to donate a big gift they can do that."


The dance team that receives the most votes will receive $5,000 toward the charity they represent. Another $5,000 also donated by the foundation will go to the team that wins the judges' votes.


The event has grown dramatically over the past several years and is now the Sunset Hills Children's Foundation's biggest fundraiser.


"It's been hugely successful. This year will be the biggest year compared to the last two," Wilkinson said.


"It's a win-win for your charity," said Peterson, who is dancing for the Apple Valley Police Activities League. "Every charity will receive an amount of money."


Two years ago Peterson and his dance partner won the grand prize competition, which meant an additional $5,000 to their charity.


While Walker is nervous about remembering all the steps, she's looking forward to that special night at the Sunset Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in Apple Valley.


"I'm excited about it," she said. "I love to dance."


'DANCING WITH THE STARS' PARTICIPANTS


Paul Peterson and Roxanne Walker - Apple Valley Police Activities League; Eric Camerena and Veronica Cortes - A Better Way; Dan and Patti Tate - Don Ferrarese Charitable Foundation; Ed Henry and Linda Blakemore - Today's Woman Foundation; Cliff and Karen Jessen - St. Mary Hospital Foundation; David Fishman and Jacquie DelReal - Sunset Hills Children's Foundation; David Gutierrez and Amber Bogren-Messmer - High Desert Homeless Shelter; Yhinyer Jackson and Tyler Hendrick - Desert Valley Medical Group; Patrick Gonzalez and Brian Tate - High Desert Resource Network; Kelly Orchard and "Secret Partner" - Mourning Star Center.


Supporters can place votes at http://sunsetchildren.org/vote.htm.