In drag for a cause

Published 10:59 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Steve Lindblad ("Fatsy Swine") waves to the crowd as the 2012 Miss Relay for Life at the conclusion of Saturday's Womanless Beauty Pageant.

The annual Womanless Beauty Pageant on Saturday was full of fun and laughter, skirts and makeup, dresses and high heels.

However, it also served as a reminder about how many people are affected by cancer each year and raised about $7,000 for the Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life.

The contest, sponsored for the 12th year by the Nansemond River Pilot Club, included six men who performed talents, modeled casual and evening wear and responded to interview questions.

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“We thought it went really well,” said Susan Blair, a board member on the Nansemond River Pilot Club and chairman of the event. “There was a lot of energy, and everybody had a really good time.”

Money raised at the event came from ticket sales, a silent auction, contestant buckets that allowed audience members to vote with money for the “People’s Choice” award and a 50/50 raffle.

The talent competition featured two performances of the hip-hop song “I’m Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO. Ian Stainback, whose stage name was “Hoof Hearted,” delivered the lyrics of the song as a poem. Al Belanger (“Alice Beaverhousin”) also danced to the song.

Other talents included dancing to Katy Perry’s popular song “Firework” by Steve Patterson (“Yummylicious”) and twisting to the oldie-but-goodie “Twist and Shout” by Barry Sexton (“Hot Tamoly”).

The competition was emceed by Dave Parker, a radio host on AM790 WNIS whose wife has battled cancer in recent years.

“Dave Parker does a fabulous job,” Blair said. “This is right up his alley.”

In a somber moment to remind everyone of the reason for the event, local florist Ray Bennett provided a tear-jerking rendition of “Go Rest High on That Mountain.”

“I know that when Ray does that, there’s not a dry eye in the house,” Blair said. “That brings everything back to the point. We have a lot of fun, but we like to have that moment of silence.”

Judges for the event were 2009 Miss Relay for Life winner Joe Alvarez, Executive Director Jackie Cherry of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, Win Winslow of the Alzheimer’s Association and former downtown business owner Margaret Gellas.

Blair said three men have already called her office to say they want to participate next year.

“Once you get the guys back in the room, the camaraderie starts and they all egg each other on,” Blair said. “They really got into it this year.”

The club hopes to move next year’s event back to February, when it has been held in years past. The city was “very gracious” in allowing the club to use the National Guard Armory for this year’s event on short notice, she added.

At the conclusion of the pageant, Steve Lindblad (“Fatsy Swine”), who shaved off a beard and mustache he had kept for 40 years for the competition, was crowned Miss Relay for Life 2012. Patterson was named People’s Choice based on the money in his bucket. Other awards included Best Casual Wear to Edwin Delosreyes (“Celexis”); Best Talent to Stainback; Best Evening Wear to Sexton; and Best Interview to Belanger.