With 1970s pop song “You Sexy Thing,” playing in the background, nine grown men wearing full make-up and dressed in satin, lace, high heels and pearls strutted down the runway, past the crowd of cheering supporters.
It’s certainly not something you see everyday in Washougal.
But the silliness was all for fun, and for a good cause. The annual “Misster Relay,” competition was among the activities held during the East Clark County Relay for Life — a benefit for the American Cancer Society.
The men’s alter-egos included “Rearranged,” “Paris,” “Mu-licious,” “Stephanie Monroe,” “Elsa Ice” and “Tiffany TaTa.”
The pageant included an interview round, as well as a talent competition.
“Rearranged,” also known as Daris Freimuth of the Walmart Walkers, was asked: “If you could have dinner with any one person, who would it be?”
His response: “Dolly Parton, because who else could look this fabulous?”
Contestants were alsoasked to display a talent. Performances included dancing the macarena, juggling, playing the cello, and simply “being pretty.”
Pageant contestants then had about 25 minutes to circle the track at Fishback Stadium and raise as much money as they could.
Dressed in a strawberry blond wig and wearing a flowered halter top dress, Nick “Nicki” Fishel of the Linda’s Lazy Dazies Relay for Life team was crowned “Misster Relay,” raising more than $500.
The funds generated through the pageant join those raised throughout the Relay for Life event. According to co-chairwoman Kim Peterson, so far that’s more than $63,000.
“We did really well,” she said. “We exceeded our goal, which was to raise $62,014.”
Thirty-one teams with 347 participants have been working for several months, fundraising and organizing for the event that officially began at 10 a.m. on Saturday with a lap for cancer survivors, and ended on Sunday at 10 a.m. with closing ceremonies, when those who have died from cancer were remembered.
“The participants were so happy and kind, and the weather was great,” Peterson said. “It was fun to shake everybody’s hand and thank them for being there.”
Participants were kept busy during the 24-hour event.
Throughout the day, relay teams took part in themed walking laps when they blew bubbles, took “selfies,” played poker, and did the limbo. Activities also included yoga, bingo and karaoke, and live music was provided by Lewis River Dixie, The Jenny Finn Orchestra, Brandon Thomas, T.C. Band and Full Armour.
Peterson said the most memorable part of the event was Saturday night’s luminaria ceremony, which featured paper bags with white lights, decorated in honor or memory of individuals affected by cancer. This year, organizers also put together a slide show that included pictures of people who had died of cancer.
“The crowd recognized some of the names and the faces,” she said. “That was probably one of my favorite pieces. Lighting the candles is pretty touching.”
It was Peterson’s first year leading East Clark County Relay for Life, a responsibility she shared with Mandy Dunn. Peterson’s first time participating in the massive event was in 2013, when she was part of the team “Hank’s Heroes,” formed in honor of her father-in-law who died of colon cancer.
Peterson said fundraising will continue through early August, when a final meeting and debriefing will be held with teams and sponsors and some preliminary planning for next year’s event will begin.
“We’re always looking for new committee members and people who want to help out,” she said. “They are always really welcome.”
For more information or to make a contribution, visit www.eastclarkcountyrelay.org.