'Mr. McCombs' pageant presents talent, supports food bank

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Irving Calderon performed a hip-hop dance during the Mr. McCombs pageant Friday night in the SAC. The pageant, which benefited Capital Area Food Bank, collected over 3,500 canned-goods and raised awareness of hunger in Texas.

Photo Credit: Skylar Isdale | Daily Texan Staff

A male beauty pageant benefiting the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas featured participants who danced, sang, rapped, wrestled and even proposed as they competed for the title of “Mr. McCombs.”

The pageant, put on by the McCombs School of Business Friday night at the Student Activities Center, was a fundraiser for the Capital Area Food Bank. Admission costs were either $3 or 3 cans of food. According to the pageants’ emcees, more than 3,500 cans had been collected through donations and canned-good drives held by student organizations within the business school.

Allison Gross, marketing junior and pageant organizer, said the event was structured so that each participant represented a different business organization.

“We wanted to host an event that was fun and encouraged camaraderie across the entire business school,” she said.

Gross said the McCombs School likes featuring the event because it is both entertaining and meaningful.

“We love putting on this event. It’s great to host something fun that still gives back to the community,” she said. “It was the perfect opportunity to give back to the Capital Area Food Bank.”

John Turner, senior director of marketing and branding at the Capital Area Food Bank, said he thinks the efforts of McCombs are going a long way to help Texans in need of food.

“Events like ‘Mr. McCombs’ have a great impact and it’s a fun way to raise support and awareness,” Turner said. “Every little thing counts and helps us put food on hungry peoples’ tables.”

Turner said hunger is a significant issue for Texans and encourages any events that alleviate the problem.

“With the economy the way it is, people need assistance purchasing food more than ever. One-in-five Central Texans are at risk of hunger,” Turner said. “That’s why events like this are so helpful and make such a big difference.”

The pageant featured a Q&A segment and a talent portion where contestants displayed various skills, such as dancing and comedy.

Marketing senior Jordan Ripley was named “Mr. McCombs.” Ripley’s talent portion involved a comedic analysis of each business association.

As he wore a crown to commemorate his victory, Ripley said he experienced monarchism for the first time.

“It feels good to win,” Ripley said. “I’ve never been a king before since I’ve lived in a democracy all my life, so it’s nice.”

However, a surprise wedding proposal is what stole the show. During the talent portion, economics senior Jonathan Coneby surprised his girlfriend by getting on one knee and proposing. When she said yes, the crowd cheered in celebration.

“I feel great. It was a long time coming,” Coneby said. “The good thing is I knew she was going to say yes.”

Printed on Monday, February 13, 2012 as: Male beauty pageant benefits food bank