Upon entering the Fulkerson Center, the faint patter of 6-inch heels could be heard in the distance. It was April 20th, and the Annual Missouri Western Drag Show was well underway.
Sponsored by Western Activities Council, SGA, Shaft Nightclub, and The Pride Alliance, the two hour long extravaganza featured a cast of six area performers: Sparkle Iman, Victoria DePaula, Melinda Ryder, Juanita Moon, Regina Loree, L’Oreal. Each queen showcased their own variation of female impersonation, ranging from Lady Gaga to a remix of popular Broadway tunes. Each song was coupled with entriquite costuming, covered in rhinestones, beads, and lace.
This year’s event was the brainchild of Tyler Rhoad, who is the President of Missouri Western’s chapter of The Pride Alliance. Though extremely hard work, Rhoad acknowledges the importance that the show has on campus.
“I began preparations for the drag show months in advance,” Rhoad said. “Not many people understand the hard work that goes into planning something like this.”
“This year, we held it in the Fulkerson Center, which holds a much larger crowd than we’ve ever had before. It’s important to bring diversity to this campus, and it’s by far worth all the work that we put into it.”
The student body seemed to agree with Rhoad, as an approximate 250 of them came to the event, flooding the seating area, overflowing into the aisles and side-stage.
One of these students, Sophomore Lindsey Stubbs, was surprised at the turnout, but felt that it added to the excitement of the event.
“It was completely packed,” Stubbs said. “Having all of those people crowded around the tables, and sitting on the floor, really added to the energy of the room. It was really interesting to be in a room filled with people who united over such a unique cause.”
The event raised $800 for Western’s Pride Alliance, all of which came in the form of dollar tips to the entertainers as they performed. Private donations were also made, the amounts and donors of which are to remain private.
This amount towers over fundraisers from years past. Emcee of the event, Victoria DePaula, who is a former Miss Gay America 2009, was surprised at the generosity of the students and faculty, and felt that that spirit lead to the show’s huge success.
“Being proud of who you are is important, regardless,” DePaula said. “But, when you’re in a room full of college students and professors who are proud to be at a drag show of all things, that’s something special.”
“It was great to see such a diverse crowd, who genuinely came for a good time. I don’t care if you’re gay, straight, or green – there’s always a place for you at a Pride event. We enjoy having a great time, and raising some money in the process.”
Along with the evening’s drag show, Pride welcomed Saint Joseph’s Free Clinic, who sponsored HIV testing, done in a private location, free to anyone attending the event.
The clinic also brought a collection of literature on sexually transmitted diseases, along with free female and male condoms.
When the event came to a close, attendees exited the ballroom with mixed expressions of enjoyment and impression, many of them leaving with the same daydream: A statuesque and perfectly poised woman turns the corner, and your eyes catch on the thousands of Swarovski crystals embedded in her lace corset.
With a swift flip of her long, perfectly quaffed locks, and batting of her long eyelashes, she disappears, slowly rocking her hips to the thumping rhythm of the sound system against the runway.
She is a master of illusion, and a succubus to all men. You shake your head quickly is disbelief, because you realize that she, isn’t really a “she” at all.