Jesse Villegas Crowned as ‘Mr. GCU’ in Western-Themed Pageant
Story by Doug Carroll
Photos by Darryl Webb
GCU News Bureau
Two hours of six-shooters (imagined) and six-pack abs (real) helped make Thursday night’s Western-themed “Mr. GCU” competition a screaming success before a huge student crowd at the Arena.
When all the boot scootin’ and butt shakin’ had finished, junior sociology major Jesse “J Bandit Slayer Dep” Villegas was chosen by the four-judge panel to wear the crown. After swimwear and talent segments, the field of 10 was reduced to five finalists, who also included (in order of finish) Daniel “QuickDraw McGraw” Nelson, Chris “Carlo Durancho” Koehne, Keith “John Wayne” Smith and Frankie “Beans & Franks” Mota.
Villegas and Nelson were a cut above the rest in the talent competition, which was long on dancing but a bit short on creativity.
Nelson performed a series of magic tricks in the smarmy style of a Las Vegas entertainer, tossing off witty one-liners as he bantered with the judges. But it was Villegas, performing last among the 10, who captivated the audience with a crisp routine that involved dancing and hip-hop songs and concluded with a strong faith message quoting Scripture. He received a standing ovation.
“I was looking for an inspirational way to use the gifts God’s given me for more than my enjoyment,” Villegas said afterward, adding that he had worked on the routine for about a month. “I was a little nervous. I knew it was a little outside the box.”
Although Villegas and Nelson went solo, most of the contestants involved others in their talent bits. Deep Abyss, a faux “boy band” that won the student lip-sync competition last fall, made an onstage reunion in Koehne’s “interpretive dance” routine. Dillon “Dillybob” Currier used four teammates from the men’s basketball team to help with a hip-hop/comedy skit. Zack “Slim Bandit” Filbrun even recruited four female dance majors, who nearly stole the spotlight from him.
Smith and Joey “Buffalo Joe” Harty each did a “synchronized swimming” routine (you had to be there, I guess, and they sorta worked). Mota, who was voted “Mr. Congeniality,” reprised some of the dance moves that have made him a Java Jam favorite, and AJ “Wild Thang” Chavez showed that he, too, is light on his feet.
In the swimwear segment, Trent “Two Timin Texas Trent” James struck a series of bodybuilding poses, eliciting titters from the women in the crowd, but Koehne got the biggest laughs with his woman’s one-piece suit.
“Modest was hottest,” commented Chris Borowy, who was Mr. GCU two years ago and served as a judge this time. The other judges were senior Kadria Young, Sedona Hall resident director Victoria Leith and Dean of Students Pastor Tim Griffin. The emcees were sophomore RAs Lindsey Fatherly and Melody Propheter.
Contact Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or email@example.com.