Video by Paul Bandong, Chauncy Miller and Han Parker
His video essay of “Why I want to be Mr. Temecula” sounded almost like a campaign speech that touted his passion for the city as well as naming places and activities to which locals could relate – like his memories of Little League baseball at Ronald Reagan Sports Park. But it was the “Angel On the Shoulder” skit that clinched the Mr. Temecula title for Parker Yocum of Temecula Valley High School. Yocum had also won the Mr. Golden Bear contest at his high school.
Each Temecula school has previously held their own contest for years – Mr. Puma, Mr. Wolfpack, and Mr. Golden Bear – but this was the first year for the Mr. Temecula contest, according to Don Skaggs, activities director at Great Oak High School.
“I first saw the idea elsewhere and approached the other two schools. We are only charging five dollars, but all the money goes to Dollars for Scholars,” Skaggs said.
The 700-seat theatre was filled to watch the top four contestants from each school vie for the title of Mr. Temecula.
Each school’s individual event leading up to this contest was different. At Chaparral, the contestants were selected to be in the top four with specific category winners –formal wear, trivia, bathing suit, best overall – via a text to vote. Over 1,100 attended their show. Jonah Heath was selected Mr Puma; Emmet Keith-Jones, Zach Hunter and Isaiah Johnson were specific category winners.
At Temecula Valley, the eight contestants were narrowed down to the top four. Those four then each answered an interview question and faced a “Spin the Wheel” challenge. Yocum was selected Mr. Golden Bear; Jomaru “JD” Dayrit, Mitchell Heires and Christian Campbell-Barrier also represented TVHS.
At Great Oak, 1,500 people watched the 24 contestants participate in formalwear, talent, and interviews. Voting was also via text-to-vote. Matt Hobby aka “Dr. Phil” was named Mr. Wolfpack; Brad Wegman, Chris Carson and Jason Cruz rounded out the Great Oak contingent.
The pageant featured a formal wear, talent and interview portion as well as group dance performances by each school. Judges for the event were Temecula Mayor Maryann Edwards; auctioneer and Charity for Charity representative Gig Comella; Temecula Dance Company Artistic Director Jimmy Peters; and Event Producer Gillian Larson, a former contestant on “Survivor: Gabon” in 2008.
Masters of Ceremony for the event were Maritza Massol (TVHS), Jade Kurtz and Mackenzie Bowlin (Chaparral), and Sydney Carper (Great Oak).
The evening began with an all-group dance from all three schools, followed by video introductions of the contestants. The formal wear portion showed creativity as Emmet Keith-Jones and his mother circled the stage on a “bicycle made for two.”
The talent portion included serious to funny entries with singing, dancing, rap, jump rope, Maori Haka dance, ballet parody, skits and a video production of school stereotypes.
Yocum’s skit was about moral dilemmas and being guided by a personal angel, but the visual comedy of the 215-pound wrestler in tights, tutu, and wings climbing up and down to get on the shoulder of his assigned person rocked the theatre with
After the crowning ceremony by Miss Temecula, Mayor Maryann Edwards informed Yocum that she already had a full calendar of events scheduled for him.