the chance to see 11 men dressed as women and raise money for a fantastic cause virtually sold out the REM Lee Theatre and filled the piggy bank of the Kimmunity Angels Society Oct. 22.
Dude Looks Like a Lady, the first annual “womanless” beauty pageant, filled 650 of the theatre’s 702 seats and brought in a staggering $22,000 to help those who have financial difficulty pay for medical treatment, travel and equipment.
The contestants went above and beyond by raising $10,000 of that total themselves, even though they only had to raise a $250 entry fee to help cover costs.
“Credit goes to the guys, for their attitude and spirit which is what made every aspect of the event fun,” said organizer and Kimmunity Angels founder Donna Slavik.
“They went above and beyond and had fun at the same time. Because of their attitude, there was such a great vibe around every aspect of this event. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this group of guys,” she said, adding that it is important that the men get the acknowledgment they deserve for their hard work and dedication to helping ill people in the community.
Their $10,000 in addition to ticket and calendar sales rocketed the total to just over $22,000, added Slavik.
Top fundraiser was Ursula “The Red Baroness” Von Strappe (Rick McDaniel) with $3,300.
Originally 14 contestants were ready to strut their stuff in heels but two had to drop out due to other commitments and one, Violet Winters (Ryan Sergerie) had to have knee surgery. He still made an appearance on crutches for a short chat with emcee Steve Little.
“He (Sergerie) was such an integral part of the event at that time, which is why I wanted to keep him involved,” said Slavik.
Picking the winners fell to judges Bob Park, Amy Spencer and Adam Kirkwood, who often had contestants strut over to give them a closeup view of what they were wearing, including several in bikinis.
The contestants worked their way through three parts of the pageant during the course of the event: an evening gown competition, talent competition and swimsuit competition.
Evening gowns varied from floor length right up to short enough to reveal most of the contestant’s leg.
Talent included the Charleston, a poem told along with a baton twirl, and imitations of music videos.
The swimsuits included a few one piece bathing suits but mostly bikinis.
Presented with the tiara and bouquet of flowers for the win was Ivona Shagwell (Chapen Leblond) to whom judge Spencer said “Now that’s a River Queen if I ever saw one,” referring to Shagwell’s male alter ego who plays on the Terrace River Kings hockey team.
Juana Bang (Evan van Dyk) was named first runner up and Annie Depressant (Conor Watson) finishing as second runner up.
The contestants chose Kristal Chandelier (Tim Waggot) as Miss Congeniality for being the nicest of the group.
The pageant went off without a hitch and even though the contestants spent most, if not all, of the entire evening walking around in high heels, no one tripped or missed a step.
Little said it was fun to watch them learn to walk in heels.
This first group of contestants had only about six weeks to prepare for their big night, Slavik said, whereas contestants for next year will have an entire year to prepare since they now know what to expect.
“This year’s pageant was incredible. Can you imagine what next year’s will be like?!” she asked.
“I’m looking forward to next year and hope we are lucky enough to gather a group of guys as wonderful as this group.
“They set the bar extremely high!!”