The image of Adam West in the opening sequence of one of my favorite movies, “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” came to mind when I received an email from the director of the Karns Fairest of the Fair pageant. Would I serve as emcee for the event? If enriching the lives of American-made girls is good enough for TV’s Batman, it’s certainly good enough for me!
I was excited about my first time as emcee of a beauty pageant. However there was a catch. I would have to arrange for a tuxedo. I asked the higher-ups at work and they were happy to place a call to Walker’s Formal Wear, which provided a great suit for me.
Upon my arrival at Grace Baptist Church on Friday night, I met the four judges: Betty Rasnic Justus, Jeanette Brown, Melinda Barto and Bob Bell. They were reviewing the pictures submitted for the Most Photogenic competition in our pre-show holding area.
During the casual wear competition, my job would be to announce each girl as she did her pageant walk and approached the microphone. During the formal wear competition, I would read the bio each girl had submitted. Pageant director Kelley Grabill instructed me to not announce any of the contestants’ last names. She didn’t want the chances of the daughters of any committee members influenced either negatively or positively. Maybe Kelley had picked up a pointer from “Drop Dead Gorgeous” too.
As a joke, I started by taking a photo of the audience and telling them to tag themselves on Facebook. When two or three of the younger contestants froze during their remarks, my instinct was to stay quiet and not interfere. At intermission, the judges told me that I had done the right thing. Later when a mix up made it unclear who had won Most Photogenic, I filled the time with whatever silly banter popped into my head. After the pageant, I was extremely complimented by the judges who told me that I had put the contestants and the audience at ease throughout the evening.