New Mr. Central Illinois Bear sashed

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2nd Runner up Bob Roemer, winner Micheal Edwards, Dalton McBride, Don Barnett, and 1st runner up Brandon Williams. (Photo courtesy of Ernest Johnson III)
2nd Runner up Bob Roemer, winner Micheal Edwards, Dalton McBride, Don Barnett, and 1st runner up Brandon Williams. (Photo courtesy of Ernest Johnson III)
2nd Runner up Bob Roemer, winner Micheal Edwards, Dalton McBride, Don Barnett, and 1st runner up Brandon Williams. (Photos courtesy of Ernest Johnson III)

PEORIA – The River City Bears held their First Annual Mr. Central Illinois Bear competition this last Friday and Saturday. The competitors were Micheal Edwards, Bob Roemer, and Don Barnett from Peoria, Brandon Williams from Champaign and Dalton McBride from Danville. The first day of the competition was held at Brandy’s Beer 30 and consisted of the Jean and Boot Strut along with the Boxer and T-shirt runway segment.

Micheal Edwards lip-synching to The Rocky Horror Picture’s soundtrack during the lip-synch competition.
Micheal Edwards lip-synching to The Rocky Horror Picture’s soundtrack during the lip-synch competition. (Photos courtesy of Ernest Johnson III)

There were many drag performances before during and after each segment of the competition. Mr. Heartland Bear, Lew Sutton along with Miss Flo NoMo, Amy Wyckoff, Adam Drake, and Darren Jackson-Adams judged the event and Miss Sparky’s Crayola S. Holiday was the MC for the event.

The second night of the competition was held at Sparky’s Fireside and was the lip-sync battle between the contestants and it also included many drag performances around each of the contestants’.

A 50/50 raffle led up to the Awards Ceremony where Micheal Edwards was crowned Mr. Central Illinois Bear 2016, with Brandon Williams first runner up, and Bob Roemer second runner up. Cash prizes of $150, $100 and $75 were awarded. The evening ended with a lip synch performance from Micheal Edwards as the winner of the title.

On winning his title Micheal Edwards stated, “This experience has been one of the most rewarding for me in a long time. It has boosted my confidence as a person. Going into the Mr. Central Illinois Bear competition I was nervous, in the end it was one of the best things I have done and the support and encouragement not just from old friends but from the new friends I have made. In the next year I look forward to being more active with in the LGBT community and helping out at events and showing more support for my brothers and sisters. In August of 2017, I plan to compete in the Mr. Heartland Bear” competition. I want to thank everyone again for their support and encouragement it means so much to me.

Brandon, Bob, Don Dalton and Mike in the T-shirt and boxers part of the competition. (Photo courtesy of Mark Lasswell)
Brandon, Bob, Don Dalton and Mike in the T-shirt and boxers part of the competition. (Photo courtesy of Mark Lasswell)

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