Male beauty-pageant spoof coming to Burford

Dr. David Ross models a football uniform during the 1998 Mr. Ark Animal fundraiser. Ross won the crown after competing against 13 other contestants in the all-male beauty contest. He plans to relinquish the title he has held for 30 years after the second Mr. Ark Animal contest Aug. 3 at the Burford Theatre. Funds raised by the event will help Big Brothers, Big Sisters and the Burford’s kitchen project.

Most people are familiar with the Miss Kansas and Queen Alalah pageants. But what about Mr. Ark Animal, Second Generation?

It’s a parody beauty contest coming back to life next week at the Burford Theatre.

Director Dejon Ewing said the all-male beauty contest will raise money for Big Brothers, Big Sisters and help to fund the completion of the Burford’s kitchen project.

“It’s a spoof,” she said. “It’s like a male beauty pageant where the men will compete in beach/leisure wear, talent and evening wear.”

The event is at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 3.

Ewing said the first generation Mr. Ark City Animal contest was held in in 1989 as a fundraiser for a middle school teacher with cancer. The contest is the community version of Mr. Cinderfella, which takes place at Cowley College.

She said 14 men participated in the first Mr. Ark Animal contest, which was won by Dr. David Ross. Ross plans to attend the event to relinquish his title.

“He quipped that he’s held the crown for as long as Queen Victoria,” Ewing said.

Ewing said the fashion part of the contest could get wild. Men dress in barrels, full scuba gear, and even grass hula skirts. She never knows what to expect. Ewing said she loosely uses the term “talent.”

“We can have anything from juggling with scarves to singing and playing the guitar,” she said. “But it’s got to be family-appropriate — I insist on that.”

Former Miss Kansas Hannah Klaassen of Arkansas City will serve as master of ceremonies, and a panel of four women will serve as judges. Ewing said the contestants always try to bribe the judges.

“It’s shameless,” she said. “Some of them will even rattle fake room keys.”

Ewing said the judges are given special bags so they can carry home all of the bribe loot given to them by the contestants.

Four handlers will work to keep things under control. Ewing said the handlers would also visit local merchants to collect white elephant gifts to use as prizes. She said they could come back with almost anything.

“You can’t believe what they get from clinics — UA sample kits — they’ll get crazy stuff,” she said.

The group also will collect old sports trophies that will be engraved with a special plaque and awarded to the winner and runners-up.

Tickets are already on sale at Schmidt Jewelers, 226 S. Summit St.

“It’s a fun thing and for a great cause,” Ewing said. “People will go home with their faces aching from laughing.”

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