LAURINBURG — The men participating in next month’s United Way of Scotland County fundraiser are billed as local movers and shakers — but competing in a “womanless pageant” will be a new experience for them.
On March 5, 10 local — and decidedly male — personalities will embrace the mantra “shake what your mama gave ya” in the United Way’s second Womanless Beauty Pageant.
The event will be held at 6 p.m. at the St. John Education Building, formerly the Highlands, and includes a buffet dinner. A cash bar will be available.
Clad in evening wear, the contestants will make their female debut one by one to the musical selections of their choice, making their way to the stage where they will be introduced and interrogated by master of ceremonies Lisa Blalock.
Contestants will match their talents in the second half of the evening. The victor will be crowned by last year’s winner: Glamourous Ginger Gigi, who is more recognizable the other 364 days of the year as Laurinburg Fire Chief Randy Gibson.
Gibson clinched the inaugural pageant prize with a fire engine red evening gown and a rendition of Etta James’ “At Last.”
Like last year, the United Way had no trouble finding a roster of prominent men in Scotland County willing to give stockings and satin a try. Though for Scotland High School football coach Richard Bailey a measure of coaxing came from his wife Laura.
“I have enough trouble being a man, I can’t even pretend to be a woman,” said Bailey. “I have no talent that I know of other than coaching football.”
But Bailey, who is no stranger to intense scrutiny as coach of the Fighting Scots, is game for anything in the name of a good cause.
“I want to be supportive of our community and I want to contribute,” he said. “If it means going out there and making a fool out of myself so people can laugh and donate some money, then that’s okay. I don’t take myself too seriously and I don’t mind laughing a little at myself.”
Last year’s event raised $9,000 for the local United Way chapter, which supports 19 nonprofit organizations in Scotland County.
“It was a successful event for a first-time event,” said event chair Dee Hammond, who anticipated that tickets will be in high demand.
The 2015 pageant drew a crowd of nearly 350, but this year organizers will keep it below 300 — and nearly half of the available seating has been claimed by event sponsors.
“We’ve planned for it to be less crowded this year,” said Hammond. “We’re going to knock it down because the guys didn’t have room to get in between the tables.”
This year’s pageant is sponsored by Nic’s Pic Kwik, Railroad Friction Products Corp., Richard Alexander, MD, Haney’s Tire and Recapping, Smithfield Foods Hog Production Division West Region, Scottish Pines, Service Thread, Scotland County Humane Society Supporters, Scotland Health Care System, and McDougald Funeral Home.
Contestants in the 2016 United Way of Scotland County Womanless Beauty Pageant:
— Scotland High School football coach Richard Bailey
— Scotland County Parks and Recreation athletic superintendent Al Blades
— Service Thread production supervisor Eric Brown
— Scotland County Sheriff’s deputy Clinton Gooselin
— storyteller Tyris Jones
— funeral director and local historian Beacham McDougald
— Scotland Health Care System vice-president Gray Mills
— Jerry’s Deli proprietor Jerry Riggins, Jr.
— Scotland County EMS assistant director Robert Sampson
— Laurinburg Police Department lieutenant Chris Young
Reserved tables are $400 and individual tickets are available for $30. For reservations or information, call 910-276-6064 or email [email protected]
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.