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Volume 68, Issue 19, Friday, September 20, 2002


Gay men in drag to compete in pageant

By Ashley Clark
The Daily Cougar

A cast of 36 will come together Saturday in UH's Cullen Performance Hall to participate in the 34th annual Miss Camp America pageant, a drag pageant that spoofs the Miss America pageant.

"Everyone should come out and see the pageant," said Ted Roundtree, the 1998 winner who is on the Miss Camp America Foundation's board of trustees this year. "It is a great time and a lot of fun."

Unlike the Miss America pageant, Miss Camp consists of 36 gay men, who will wear wigs, dresses, swimsuits and makeup, and will sing and dance to six musical numbers in the name of charity.

"It is a fundraiser for local charities that service people with HIV and AIDS," Roundtree said. "In the past 10 years we have raised over $500,000."

The charities benefiting from the Miss Camp America Foundation will be the Assistance Fund, Bering Omega Community Services, Montrose Clinic/Frost Eye Clinic, PWA Holiday Charities and Casa de Esperanza de Los Ninos, Inc.

The Miss Camp pageant, which gets its name from the word "campy", meaning funny, takes place the same night as the Miss America pageant and attempts to follow the actual ceremony.

"We cannot have all 50 states represented, because we would be here all night, but we start with the top 10 states that made it into the top 10 during the Miss America pageant last year," Roundtree, a former Miss Illinois, said. "The top 10 participate in a talent, evening gown and swimsuit portion."

For one night, the men who participate in the Miss Camp pageant lose themselves in the excitement of the festivities.

"The men that participate must choose a feminine stage name and assume that personality," said Roundtree, whose pageant name was Jessica Flame. "The men that participate in the pageant are doctors, lawyers and insurance agents, and we have two professional drag-queen performers."

Some of the contestants in this year's pageant are Marilyn, Miss New York; Felicia Jollygoodfellow, Miss Michigan; Sofonda St John, Miss West Virginia; and Sally Jesse Helms-Leiberman-Gore, Miss Tennessee.

Tickets are $25, $45, $65, $100 and $150. Tickets will be sold at the box office beginning at 5 p.m.

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