We’re all a little mad here

Contestants strut their stuff in this year’s Mr. CWRU pageant

While the competition was stiff, the Mr. CWRU pageant brought out only one winner. Junior Charlie Topel (left) captured the top spot with a raunchy comedy routine.

Katie Laird, Contributing Reporter

It’s a freezing cold night on Nov. 14, complete with wind whipping through hair and snow blowing in faces. It’s not quite a winter wonderland, but inside Strosacker Auditorium, a different kind of Wonderland makes an appearance.

It’s nearly 7 p.m. and the sisters of Sigma Psi are preparing to put on the event they’ve planned for weeks: the annual Mr. CWRU pageant. Established in 1978, the pageant has been a success each year, enjoyed by Sigma Psi, several of their proud alumni and students of Case Western Reserve University alike. For the 36th annual event, all proceeds go the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (CRCC).

This year’s theme? Alice in Wonderland.

It starts with the suits (minus senior Andrew Gerst, who classed up his Alpha Phi Omega shirt with a spiffy pink bowtie) and an introduction of the 16 contestants. All of the guys are unique, excited and ready to win.

The “representative wear” category quickly follows.

There’s daisy dukes, a giant hand, inner tubes, bribery food and junior Dan Mason literally carrying his brothers of Phi Kappa Tau on his back as each contestant tries his best to epitomize his organization. Suddenly, it’s a real competition and the only preliminary category left before six contestants are cut is the Alice in Wonderland character wear.

In minutes, the stage transforms into Wonderland. There are five Alices, two mad hatters, two Queen of Hearts, a royal guard, Tweedle Dee (or was it Tweedle Dum?), a Cheshire Cat, two white rabbits, a King of Hearts and an Absolem with bubbles.

As the judges choose who shall move on to the final round, it’s intermission for the crowd. But, for Rachael Becker, president of Sigma Psi, there’s no stopping until a winner is crowned.

After the show, she gushed about the competition. “I think our contestants this year really did an excellent job of helping to showcase our cause,” she said. “We’re all really pleased with how much all of the contestants incorporated our cause into their portions.”

Her favorite event, the talent portion, which followed after intermission, was better than she could have hoped for this year. Though all contestants were creative, from Josh Kent’s magic trick to Charlie Topel’s stand up comedy, Becker’s personal favorite was Hyung Chul Kim’s baking showcase.

“I loved the take-home message about the perfect fraternity man,” she says, “He did an excellent job showcasing the community’s values… that exposure is fantastic for non-greeks and an excellent reminder for us greeks.”

In the end, the contestants never truly answered the Mad Hatter riddle “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” which was meant to choose the winner out of the five finalists.

Though all answers brought cheers and laughter from the crowd, in the end, it was Charlie Topel who came out on top to become the new Mr. CWRU.

In the end, the event raised a little over $3,500 with more than a third of the money coming from ticket sales alone.

No one is more proud than the sisters of Sigma Psi whose successful event helped to spread awareness of sexual violence and support the CRCC.

Post-show, though a little dehydrated, a proud Rachael Becker spoke about the performances. “We’d been working on Mr. CWRU for weeks and it was really great to see everything come together,” said Becker. “We’re all so grateful for everyone who came out and supported us and the CRCC.”

We may all be all be a little mad here at Case, but we’re always there to support each other when it counts.