Cheers filled the Taggart Student Center ballroom Wednesday evening as the twelve contestants of Mr. USU were announced to the crowd of excited onlookers during an encapsulating choreographed dance to “Rainin’ Men,” by the Weather Girls, complete with umbrellas, suspenders and levi shorts. Several hundred students were in attendance, along with many parents, friends and family members of the contestants.
Mr. USU is a pageant held for the males of USU. The annual event is a traditional part of homecoming week for Aggies.
Each college at the university was represented with the addition of Student Alumni Association(SAA), Diversity, Involvement, and Greek Life. This years contestants were:
- -Braxton Moon (Mr. Arts)
- -Jordan Risley (Mr. Natural Resources)
- -Cesar Quezada (Mr. Business)
- -Colton Fairchild (Mr. CHaSS)
- -Navin Jain (Mr. Diversity)
- -Westin Rallis (Mr. Education)
- -Josh Johnson (Mr. Greek)
- -Zach Cottrell (Mr. Science)
- -Angel Lopez (Mr. Involvement)
- -Erik Olsen (Mr. Engineering)
- -Nathan Lundberg (Mr. SAA)
- -Kastle Christensen (Mr. CAAS)
Contestants were judged in three different categories: talent, fitness and formal question-and-answer. Talents ranged from a 90s flashback to a SuperSmash Brothers game against Student Body President Michael Scott Peters. There were multiple mashup rap dances, a cultural dance, a Haaka and a rendition of “Evermore” from the new “Beauty and the Beast” movie. All the contestants brought very personal touches to their talents which reflected their personalities.
By the end of the evening, several ripped shirts remained on the TSC ballroom floor from many a young adult male showing off his inner Tarzan strength.
Zach Cottrell, Mr. Science, had never attended a Mr. USU pageant before, but was approached by his roommate’s girlfriend, who was one of the choreographers of the pageant.
“I thought to myself, yeah, I could do it,” he said.
His roommate helped him pick his talent for the evening which was a skit that was done by the late actor Chris Farley.
“I wish Farley was still with us, but I loved him and his movies, and plus, I think I’ve got some dance moves,” said Cottrell.
Cottrell enjoyed being able to meet and perform with all of his fellow contestants.
“Nobody was really nervous or was all about winning. Everyone was just high fiving each other and had a good time,” Cottrell said.
Nate Lundberg, Mr. Student Alumni Association, said he was interested in participating in Mr. USU because of the rich traditional background it has for Utah State.
“Mr. USU really gives everyone a chance to showcase their college, their organization and themselves and their skills,” Lundberg said. “It brings a lot of diversity into the school and is a positive thing for Utah State.”
Lundberg enjoyed working with the other men in the competition, but didn’t really see it as a competition.
“We all came in with a positive attitude, and wanted to make it fun for everyone. It was a competition that didn’t feel like a competition,” said Lundberg.
In Braxton Moon’s six years at Utah State, he has seen the Mr. USU pageant at least six times, but has never participated in it himself. He wanted something to remember his senior year by, so he chose to join in on the fun of Mr. USU.
“I came into this experience knowing only a ‘handful’ of the other contestants,” Moon said. “But I walked away with 11 new best friends. In all my years of attending this event, this is probably the best I have ever seen it.”
Colton Fairchild sang a beautiful Linkin Park song for his talent, which had special meaning for him.
“Linkin Park’s lead singer passed away last summer, and it has been something that has remained close to my heart for many reasons,” Fairchild said. “One day my brother sent me a tribute video that Linkin Park had done for the lead singer and watching it almost brought me to tears right there.”
Fairchild mentioned that if he were to be picked for Mr. USU, that was the song he knew he would sing. He also added a rap to it.
“I was feeling so much energy from everyone,” he said. “I kind of felt bad for the judges because everyone brought their own unique style and form. It was nerve-wracking and exhilarating.”
Erik Olson said the bond the group of 12 men shared with each other throughout this experience was unique “because we really bonded together as a group of guys. We were all out of our comfort zones, but in that discomfort we could have fun and make a fool out of ourselves. It was a good time.”
After an evening full of talent, swimwear and a formal question-and-answer session, a roaring crowd was bursting with excitement to find out who would represent the university as Mr. USU 2018. The echo of the cheery Masters of Ceremonies screamed with delight as they announced the winners.
- The People’s choice award: Navin Jain (Mr. Diversity)
- Mr. Congeniality: Colton Fairchild (Mr. CHaSS)
- 2nd Attendant: Braxton Moon (Mr. Arts)
- 1st Attendant: Josh Johnson (Mr. Greek)
- Mr. USU 2018: Cesar Quezada (Mr. Business).
For those who may consider Mr. USU a part of their future at Utah State, contestants offered advice to help them through.
“Give it 100% all the time. Don’t hold back. Do whatever you want. It’s a fun competition that isn’t meant to be a competition,” Lundberg said.
“If you even have a thought about doing it, do it. Mr. USU is definitely one of the best college memories I have experienced.”