LAURINBURG — Though the contestants may have been unconvincing as women, Saturday’s United Way of Scotland County Womanless Beauty Pageant offered up three hours of fun, frills, and nonstop laughter.
With more than 300 people in attendance, the event packed the St. John Association building at the Highlands as 10 local characters did their best imitations of the fairer sex.
Contestant number one, Scotland County’s assistant EMS director Robert Sampson, was the first to dance through the crowd — to “Apple Bottom Jeans” — collecting donations from an enthusiastic audience.
“This is not the zoo; please touch the contestants,” said mistress of ceremonies Lisa Blalock, a Laurinburg attorney. “You may put your dollars wherever you can fit them.”
Al Blades, Scotland County Parks and Recreation’s athletic director, made his debut as cheerleader “Sugar Lips Alice” after several contestants in 2015’s inaugural pageant pegged him as the sexiest man alive. He was also the individual contestant to collect — between his donation jar and cheerleading uniform — the greatest donation total with $403.
Blalock had the crowd in stitches with the proclamation that city of Laurinburg network administrator Josh Coble, who bore a passing enough resemblance to Jodie Foster to acknowledge it on stage, was “kind of cute.”
After each contestant made the rounds, they made their way to the stage, where Blalock asked each of them what they would do as queen for a day.
“I’d have social hour at four o’clock in the afternoon with wings, wine, and beer,” Jerry “Geraldine” Riggins responded to ecstatic cheers. “At seven o’clock we would do margaritas.”
Surprise questions posed included “Do you believe that women truly are the weaker sex” and “Can a woman have too many pairs of shoes?”
Kristy Newton, Juliet McMillan, and Noelle McIntyre judged the talent portion of the pageant. Competing as “Victor Victoria Marie Antoinette,” winner Tyris Jones, by day a storyteller, was the maven of melodrama with an Emmy Award-worthy routine as a soap opera diva.
“When I look in the mirror, I see satisfaction, sophistication, admiration, and determination,” Jones said.
Lt. Chris “Peaches” Young of the Laurinburg Police Department was runner-up with a rendition of “Unchained Melody.”
Service Thread production supervisor Eric Brown brought the competition to the close with a lip synch to “I’m Every Woman.”
“Who knew in 2016 that the image of every woman was a dude in a Little Richard wig with hairy legs shaking it on the stage?” Blalock said.
Inaugural winner Randy Gibson reprised his performance of “At Last” before bestowing the winner’s tiara on Jones.
On Monday, organizers were still working to tally the evening’s fundraising total.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.