The 14th annual Mr. MWSU male talent show brought great excitement to the entire campus as the candidates presented their own MWSU version of “Welcome to the Jungle.” This event which took place on April 2, in the Potter Hall Theater, bought smiles to many students’ faces as they got the chance to see their fellow peers strut their stuff on the stage all for a good cause.
Every formal organization on campus received the opportunity to nominate one male to participate in this event. Mr. MWSU is a philanthropic event hosted by Alpha Gamma Delta to raise money for the sorority’s Foundation which primarily aids in Diabetes research. This year, the men doubled the amount of funds raised in previous years with accumulating a grand total of $2,038.83.
Alpha Gamma Delta member and co-director of Mr. MWSU, Jacely Alcantara thought the show was a big success.
“I’ve been excited since the last Mr. MWSU,” Alcantara said. “I wanted to help out and get the boys ready. I had a really, really good time.”
The judges for the competition were Tiffany Tant-Shafer, Sandy Rodgers and Pauletta Baits. They are all currently affiliated with MWSU and were happy to show their support. The men were judged in four different categories: costume, swim wear, talent and formal wear.
This year’s event included eleven participants: Leonard Lawson, Chris Nunnelly, Dan Young, Brad Brush, Deon
Fisher, Chicano Cross, John Nyman, Jeff Jones, Grant Akers, Michael Ratliff and Nathan Noland. The men brought creativity, familiarity and a great uniqueness to the big stage.
After all the candidates participated in a group-dance introduction, the contest continued on by category. The talent and costume categories grew the most responses from the audience. Though some participants wanted to actually prove they were talented, others took a more humorous approach.
Among these contestants was John Nyman, a sixth-year senior nominated by Residence Council, who wanted to show the audience how wise he was among his years. He showed this by doing a comedy skit about his experiences at Western.
“I really don’t have anything special to do,” Nyman said. “So I thought I just make fun of myself.”
Another participant who decided to show his funny side was Dan Young, a sophomore nominated by his fraternity Phi Delta Theta. He did a dance entitled “The Evolution Of Dance”. First he started doing the “Twist” to the old songs, continued by dancing the “YMCA” and Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” and then he decided to switch things up by adding the “Stankey Leg” to his routine. After a few more dances, Young chose to exit the stage with the “Worm.”
“It’s funny and I can’t dance very well,” Young said. “I’ve never done something like this before.”
Another humorous performance was from sophomore Brad Brush, nominated by sorority Sigma Sigma Sigma, who changed his name to Steven Ross for his performance. Ross, who is the famous painter Bob Ross’s son, decided to put on an art show for his fans. As he wore an afro and 70’s clothes, he showed the crowd that he is as talented as his late father.
“Let’s make this tree a happy tree,” Brush said as he painted his lovely picture.
Michael Ratliff, nominated by the Student Honors Department decided to re-create a guy’s version of the Miss Congeniality movie scene where actress Sandra Bullock played the glasses to create musical notes. Only Ratliff attempted this using plastic cups and a rock song making it virtually impossible to play any kind of note.
“I don’t have an actual talent,” Ratliff said. “One of my friends suggested I do that and do the whole Miss Congeniality thing. However, I’m not cross-dressing.”
Though many were humorous, some performers were also inspirational. Contestant Deon Fisher, nominated by the Ebony Collegians, decided to inspire the audience with as a gospel mime.
“This is what I do at church,” Fisher said. “In my talents, I minister to people through my mime.”
Another performer was Chris Nunnelly, nominated by sorority Phi Mu. Nunnelly decided to impress the crowd with two poems: one entitled “My Sincere Apology” and the other entitled “Phenomenal Brother.”
Another area that drew a lot of attention was the costume section. Many of the men decided to show the audience their creative side. Leonard Lawson, nominated by Alpha Sigma Alpha, dressed up as Stone Cold Steve Austin and added a skit to show how well he could wrestle.
Another creative costume was from participant Jeff Jones, nominated by Phi Mu Alpha. Jones, dressed as the Black Power Ranger, entered the stage attempting flips, kicks and other Power Ranger moves. When asked why he chose to be a Black Power Ranger, Jones responded, “It’s something I used to want to be when I was a little kid. I never got the chance so I thought I’d take advantage of that.”
Along with the costume and talent areas, the swim suit competition gave the crowd something to look at, and for some, something to laugh at as well.
Nathan Noland, nominated by Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity wore a scuba diving jumpsuit and incorporated a unique ribbon dance. Luke Akers, one of the hosts of the evening, commented on Noland’s performance.
“He must have been inspired by a mix between Michael Phelps and Clay Aken,” Akers said.
In the final category, the men were judged on their formal attire as well as how they answered random questions. Some contestants gave great answers like Grant Akers, nominated by Phi Sigma Kappa, and Chicano Cross, nominated by Zeta Phi Beta.
When asked what motto he goes by, Akers gave a thoughtful response.
“Life is a game; you just have to figure out how to play it,” Grant Akers said.
When asked what food item he would be at a pot luck dinner, Cross gave a response that made the crowd smile.
“I would be macaroni because everybody would want a scoop of me,” Cross said.
At the end of the night each category winner was announced.
The winner of Mr. Costume went to Nunnelly, Mr. Swim Suit was awarded to Noland’s ribbon dancing, Mr. Talent belonged to Fisher’s mime routine and the winner of Mr. Formal was Nyman. The final award announced before the revealing of Mr. MWSU was a special trophy for the participant who raised the most money. With $1,010.78, Nyman raised nearly half of the combined total for the event by himself, setting a record for the largest amount of money ever raised by a Mr. MWSU candidate.
After a brief drum roll, the 2009 Mr. MWSU went to Nunnelly who was crowned by last year’s winner, David Wyble.
Nunnelly was very happy and surprised.
“I am really excited because I won an actual title,” Nunnelly said. “It means a lot to me. I wasn’t going to do it at first. Then coming out and actually winning is pretty dope.”