This story first appeared in the February 2020 edition of the Hilltop.
Former Mr. Van Gilder, Grant Goodwin, passed on the golden hammer last Friday night to an unexpected winner, underclassman Luke Walker. In fact, titles of both Mr. Van Gilder and Mr. Pink Plunger were awarded to underclassmen, an unprecedented event in the history of the man pageant.
Eight brave men, hailing from the Van Gilder side of the Prewitt-Van Gilder Dorm, took the stage on the nights of January 24th and 26th to compete for the coveted golden hammer. Among them, returning veterans Luke Walker, Jacob Vandermartin, Alex Ardavanis (competing in place of a sick hall-mate despite already having been Mr. VG), and Paul Dunlap. Underclassmen Declan Ritter, Isaac Allen, Daniel Bennett, and Sean Cavinaw ran their debut performances hoping to make it on to the second night.
Several events gave these gents the chance to show the crowd what they are made of.
First up, the challenge seemed simple. Taren Ikea-Mario awaited the contestant on stage. Their job was to copy his every move to a T. Ikea-Mario challenged them to complex and embarrassing dance moves, feats of athleticism, and even drinking mayonnaise straight from the bottle. This trial only ended once the contestant copied Ikea-Mario sitting on a chair adorned with a wet sponge unbeknownst to them.
The second event only portrayed that the American school system never taught these boys or emcee, Nick Alexander, the parts of speech effectively. Mad Lib…OR DIE! asked the contestants to rattle off nouns, verbs, and adjectives galore to the emcees Alexander and Madelyn Potloff to be turned into a humorous story which they would then act out. Each contestant chose a prop from a bin of items found around PVG and performed their part.
Like every good pageant, the talent section showed off the boys’ best skills and odd aptitudes. Freshman Ritter, took the stage dressed as a luchador and serenaded the audience while he played guitar. The future winner, Walker, wooed every girl in the room (including his girlfriend) with classic Christian pick-up lines. He offered such gems as “if I walk around you seven times, would you fall for me?” The newest resident of VG, Cavinaw, advertised himself as the quintessential “modern housewife” as he displayed his martial arts prowess in a flowy pink sundress. Bennettsent a wave of laughs and groans over the spectators with his stand-up comedy and helpful hints on walking effectively while wearing high heels. True to form, VG veteran Ardavanis once again co-starred with his trusty trash bin companion and proceeded to drink an entire bottle of hot sauce. Future Mr. PP, Allen exhibited his skill as a magician, throwing tissues around wildly. Vandermartin took the stage silently, before rapping the near entirety of Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” while eating several whole lemons, peel and all. Last but not least, Dunlap convinced the crowd he would sing the classic “Blackbird” by John Lennon, but switched dramatically to Guitar Hero and Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle.”
After a brutal, and slimy Steal the Bacon battle, the men rinsed the soap, mud and sweat off their skin and returned to the stage for the announcement of the final four.
Sunday night, after a day to prepare themselves, their poetry, and their cardboard-duct tape costumes, the final four – Dunlap, Allen, Walker, and Vandermartin – took the stage once more.
The first event tested their grit, their wit, their improv skills, and their knowledge in the kitchen. Walker had his hands put into a can of hominy, while Allen was to present a sandwich as though he were giving it to Gordon Ramsay himself, Dunlap saved the world with a stuffed cupcake, and Vandermartin protected himself with caution tape.
After working tirelessly for nearly all of Saturday, the contestants surrendered themselves to the vicious quill of Dr. Colette Tennant, the resident poetry expert. With everything from an ode to tater tots, to a poem that made the audience wonder if its author was doing alright, the contest came to a veritable standstill when Tennant roasted PVG and all its residents in one fell swoop:
“Apparently, there is no IQ requirement for living in PVG,” Tennant said, “Got ‘em!”
Uproarious laughter ensued as well as mock-offended groans from PVG residents, leadership and former residents.
The four eliminated contestants returned in elegant evening gowns as the princesses to be rescued from the ogres, Kelton and Brittania Hedstrom. The more quick the princess was rescued the more points for the contestant.
“My prince was none other than Mr. VG himself.” Bennett said. “He will now forever be my prince.”
To prove even further their worthiness as true gentlemen, Dunlap, Walker, Allen, and Vandermartin, teamed up with the women’s RAs, acted out the first night of a boyfriend meeting his girlfriend’s parents. The parents, played by Karina Mansour and Goodwin, humorously raked the boys over the coals for everything a parent could possibly want to know.
Their last event was to display the costumes. While Goodwin’s iconic pope costume left big shoes to fill, these four gave it their best go. Vandermartin dressed himself as a Bob Ross painting while being painted to the tune of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Dunlap created an Iron Man suit for himself and strutted on stage to the Iron Man theme. Walker dressed as Larry the Cucumber, accompanied by his girlfriend, dressed as Bob the Tomato, and sang the nostalgic Hairbrush Song from VeggieTales. Lastly, Allen dressed as a flip-flop sandal to the tune of “Surfin’ USA” as he scattered miniature shoes to the crowd.
At the end of the night, after Mr. VG and Mr. PP had been given their respective scepters, all eight contestants bid the audience adieu and auf wiedersehen in their traditional rendition of “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music.
By: Hannah Brumage