Hesitation, excitement building for Mr. Yale

For this year’s Mr. Yale hopefuls, the race is on.

Over the weekend, students in most residential college elected their nominees for the Mr. Yale contest — a Yale Student Activities Committee-sponsored male beauty pageant for contestants from the 12 colleges that will be held Nov. 8. The competition, begun last year as an alternative to a delayed Fall Show, will include judged dance, talent and modeling segments, event organizers said.

Although colleges’ different election procedures initially produced confusion among students and potential Mr. Yale contenders, most of the candidates said they are taking their nominations in stride — despite initial puzzlement among some about why they were nominated.

“It was kind of a surprise,” Calhoun College nominee Ryan Russell ’09 said. “I’m not really sure what to expect … I don’t consider myself ridiculously talented, but a lot of people might come laugh at me, so that should be a pretty good time.”

While he has no specific plans for the contest at this point, Russell said he is excited to be participating.

Allen Sanchez ’10, who will represent Berkeley College, said he was less than enthusiastic upon hearing of last year’s contest.

“I thought it was going to be kind of lame,” Sanchez said.

Despite those initial misgivings, Sanchez said he is now “pretty excited” about the upcoming contest. While he is still working on the details of his talent segment, Sanchez said he is considering “something involving juggling and shotgunning various beverages.”

Among those against whom Sanchez will face off is Branford College nominee Andy Shumaker ’10, who said he only reluctantly decided against reciting his entire repertoire of Chuck Norris jokes during his portion of the talent show.

“That would take too long,” Shumaker said.

Shumaker said he is trying to keep his candidacy “low-key” for the time being.

Some colleges have not yet finished selecting candidates for Mr. Yale. Students in Ezra Stiles College will vote Wednesday for one of three nominees — T.J. Smith ’10, Alex Christ ’08 and Billy Blase ’10. Students in Timothy Dwight College had not finalized their selection for Mr. Yale as of Monday night, YSAC officials said.

Saybrook College freshman counselor Mike Lehmann ’08, who will carry his college’s banner at next month’s competition, said he thinks his counselees nominated him.

“It’s going to be hard for me because I can’t sing or dance,” Lehmann said. “But I’m still planning something entertaining.”

Lehmann served as YSAC chair last year.

Current YSAC chair Tom Hsieh ’08 will also be involved in the contest as the representative of Jonathan Edwards College. Hsieh said the timing of this year’s contest will give the nominees more time to prepare before the event than last year’s contestants had.

“This year we’re starting much more early,” Hsieh said. “Last year was really kind of a last-minute thing.”

Last year’s contest was announced at the end of October and took place Nov. 16, he said.

Other contestants in this year’s pageant include Shenqing Tang ’08, of Trumbull College; Phillip Clopton ’08, of Morse College; and Daniel Lewis ’08, of Davenport College. Silliman College nominee Michael Eggelston ’10 said he may not be able to participate because of a scheduling conflict.

Pierson College YSAC representative Michael Chao ’10 could not be reached Monday night to identify Pierson’s nominee for Mr. Yale.

Trumbull YSAC representative and Mr. Yale organizer Christine Levy ’10 said the format of this year’s contest will be similar to last year’s. There will be three rounds of judging, the first two of which will each eliminate half the contestants, she said, and a winner will be selected from the three finalists who make it to round three.

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