There he is…Mr. RFHS; fundraiser kicks off Relay weekendSometime during the evening of Thursday, March 22, a newly crowned Mr. River Falls High School will don his sash and walk away a winner, with bragging rights for at least a year.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
Sometime during the evening of Thursday, March 22, a newly crowned Mr. River Falls High School will don his sash and walk away a winner, with bragging rights for at least a year.
Four members of the National Honor Society -- seniors Rachel Mazac, Elizabeth Semi, Nicole Soley and Shabby Tabesh -- planned and organized the pageant, which begins 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
The for-fun event aims to raise funds for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, which happens at the high school the next night, March 23.
Tabesh said, “We want as many people there as possible.”
Adults will pay $3 for admission. Student tickets cost $2.
Organizers say the Mr. RFHS pageant will probably last roughly 90 minutes.
The contest includes a Mr. Popularity category. Whichever contestant gets the most cash stuffed in their box during intermission -- wins.
That night people can also buy, for $10, a luminaria bag, which are lighted on Relay night to honor the memory of a loved one affected by cancer.
The group began planning and organizing after Semi visited a college in Illinois that held a similar contest.
Usually, each student in the honor society raises a minimum of $100 to support the Relay, but instead of going door-to-door to collect that money, say the young women, they decided to organize an all-boy pageant of their own.
They agree that the popularity of Relay’s annual “Dude Looks Like A Lady” fundraising contest gave them confidence that people would find a Mr. RFHS contest fun and entertaining.
The girls say they hope it will become an annual event.
They’re following the same show format used during the annual River Falls Royal Ambassadors contest; they clarify that the for-fun-only pageant means no disrespect to the hardworking ambassadors. Their event just provides the honors group a much-needed point of reference.
The show opens with a choreographed song-and-dance number then each guy presents a talent before the 20-minute intermission. Next the eight contestants appear in swim and formal wear plus come onstage for a question-and-answer session.
The girls say school administration established one rule early in the process: No Speedo bathing suits will be allowed.
So who are the eight contestants?
Seniors Aaron Brager and Ryan Kusilek, juniors J.P. Eaton and Griffin Lacek, sophomores Kyle Duex and Garrett Loomis, and freshmen Max Haskins and Ryan Russell.
Judging the pageant will be Dr. Karl Peterson of UW-River Falls, Kit Luedtke of River Falls High School, Dr. Dan Zimmerman of the River Falls Area Hospital and Mayor Don Richards.
Contest organizers said they selected the slate of contestants, trying to pick a few boys from each grade who are popular with different groups. They also needed the right personality -- someone who wouldn’t mind being the object of others’ laughter.
Semi said the group thought holding tryouts would be a bigger undertaking than they could handle, so they concentrated on picking a diverse group of guys.
The contest takes on the overall Relay theme of “making cancer walk the plank,” so will include lots of pirate premises. The winner walks away with a crown, sash, statue, and most importantly say the girls -- bragging rights for a year. The eight contestants will also vote on each other to name Mr. Congeniality.
Mazac, Semi, Soley and Tabesh say since it is an all-guy contest, they asked girls to host it: Chelsea Braun and Lauren Ziebarth will emcee the evening.
Semi said of the pageant hosts, “They’re working on the script.”
Mazac adds that before the crowd leaves that night, pageant organizers will count and announce the totals collected. The honor students need to reach $400 but hope to raise much more. They already know of 140 people who say they’re coming.
The organizers said each of their original contestant picks said yes, so they didn’t have to ask any alternates. Soley said they’ve since been busy posting flyers anywhere people let them and spreading the word about this “kid-friendly family-fun event that’s good for everybody.”
Gonna-be contestant Ryan Kusilek said he thinks it will be a good time. He expects to be slightly embarrassed and humiliated and said when asked to compete, he had to think about it before saying yes.
“We all decided we wanted to have fun with it,” said Kusilek.
He’s been busy picking clothing and a talent. He expects a few grueling rehearsals soon, since the pageant will not be impromptu performances.
Contestant Ryan Russell said at first he didn’t know what to think about his schoolmates’ request -- he understood they wanted him to be in some kind of girlie thing. He said he looked over the flyer then talked to the two senior boys who had agreed to do it. He soon decided ‘sure, why not?’
Russell said, “I was pretty honored to be picked for it, actually,” and added that he’s had people comment to him that the event looks interesting and fun.