Contestants strut their stuff

The 15 beauty contest competitors raised money for a student group’s spring break service trip.

Hank Long

Arnold Schwarzenegger started his road to fame when he flexed his muscular physique all the way to first place at the 1967 Mr. Universe competition.

If winning a beauty pageant is any indication of future celebrity, Devin Clarkson, who won the Mr. Superblock competition Monday night, is well on his way to the governor’s office.

“I was nervous out of my freakin’ mind,” said Clarkson, a University senior, about the swimsuit portion of the contest.

Clarkson flaunted his skin-tight, duct-tape skivvies for about 400 onlookers and a panel of guest judges as he strutted down a lit runway in Coffman Union’s Great Hall.

In addition to the swimsuit competition, Clarkson and 14 other contestants from superblock residence halls squared off in talent and evening wear competitions.

After the Mr. Superblock tiara was placed on Clarkson’s head, he was presented a check for a weeklong trip to anywhere in Europe.

“I really wanted to win that trip,” Clarkson said after his big night. “But this whole night was for a good cause.”

Students Today, Leaders Forever, a new student group for social action made up of mostly first-year students, organized the event.

The competition was planned as a fund-raiser for the group’s spring break tour, Pay it Forward.

On Friday, 42 members will begin a weeklong bus trip, stopping to do good deeds along the way, according to the group’s Web site.

Students Today, Leaders Forever member Miyong Kim said the group thought a male beauty pageant would be a fun way to raise money for the trip and bring the University together.

Audience members cheered for each contestant during the first part of the competition, which was the contestants’ interpretation of “evening wear.”

While Darren Frederickson donned shades and a black leather jacket with its collar up, competitor Jon Ziemer adorned himself with a pink fluffy robe and matching hair curlers.

The crowd grew rowdier with each portion of the competition, especially during the talent section.

First-year student Mike “The Drummer Boy” Tenuta wowed the crowd with his percussion skills as he rattled away on his drum set and rhythmically beat on pots and pans scattered along the catwalk.

James LaBerge captivated audience members with his voice and precision-string instrument skills when he plucked away at his ukulele rendition of R.E.M.’s “Man on the Moon.”

When judges narrowed the field to three contestants, the final round included Clarkson and first-year students Matt Palmieri and Philip Thompson. Each finalist sang his favorite love song to selected female audience members.

Students Today, Leaders Forever Co-President Irene Fernando said Mr. Superblock was a big hit and the group hopes to make it better next year.

“We want to make it a tradition,” she said.

One of the event’s judges, Amelious Whyte, an official in the associate vice provost’s office, said the event showed great leadership from the group.

“The people who put this together demonstrated you can be a leader from the time you step on campus,” he said.