“Temecula has so much talent,” said Gillian Larson, local reality TV star and guest judge for the second annual Mr. Temecula pageant held on Friday, May 1 at the Performing Arts Center of Great Oak High School. Sponsored by Valley News, the annual event is a benefit for Dollars for Scholars.
This year’s Mr. Temecula pageant featured twelve contestants. Each public high school has for years held their own competition – Mr. Puma from Chaparral, Mr. Golden Bear from Temecula Valley, and Mr. Wolfpack from Great Oak. Last year, the three Temecula public schools joined together for a citywide competition for the Mr. Temecula title. Parker Yocum, Mr. Golden Bear from Temecula Valley, was named Mr. Temecula in the inaugural event.
This year, Mateo Rojas won the title of Mr. Puma. Donald “DJ” Ross won the title of Mr. Golden Bear. Jonathan Hernandez was named Mr. Wolfpack. The top four contestants from each of the three contests this year qualified to compete for the title of Mr. Temecula.
Ross, Michael Caposio, Renner Miguel and Adrian “Ace” Damasco represented TVHS. Travis McDowell, Nick Doan, Marc Fimbres, and Hernandez represented GOHS. Rojas, Enrique Duenas, Jared Wolf and Kevin Zolanowski represented CHS.
This year’s judges included returning judge Gig Comello, Charity Prestifilippo, founder/CEO of Charity for Charity and Larson, reality star from the “Survivor: Gabon” TV show and founder of the Reality Rally. They judged the contestants in three categories, formal wear, talent, and interview.
The formal wear portion featured each of the contestants individually with their escorts parading down the runway. Even here, talent and creativity began to show as the contestants vied for the audience’s attention with their dramatic entrances and pose routines.
Doan and his escort performed an intricate swing dance routine. Miguel brought an entire entourage that included the TVHS Step Team, and the Ohana Maoli and Haka Boys dancers. Duenas elicited “oohs” and “aahs” from the audience as he carried out his baby niece, Ariana. Wolf impressed with his best friend, toddler Maximus, dressed in a similar white tuxedo jacket and black tuxedo pants. Rojas drew raucous laughter with his escort, his “Pet Rock.”
The talent portion featured also featured great diversity, talent and creativity. CHS’s Rojas performed an amazing yo-yo routine. Duenas impressed with his piano skills. Wolf entertained with a “belly whistling” act and Zolanowski performed a comedic routine.
TVHS’s Ross took the stage with a freestyle rap routine. Caposio delivered a funny monolgue on being “friend-zoned.” Miguel performed a firestick routine and Damasco aired a car wash video.
GOHS’s McDowell took suggestions from the audience as he showed off his talent for impressions. Doan’s soliloquy on GOHS elicited multiple reactions.
Fimbres’ flawless lip sync/dance routine to Bruno Mars’ “Uptown” drew a rousing response from the audience. Hernandez’ unique “hand dance” collage was also an audience favorite.
In addition to many responses complimenting Temecula, there were also some unique responses in the interview portion as each contestant drew a question from a hat. Caposio likened himself to a platypus. Hernandez selected his mother as is role model, crediting her for his work ethic. Duenas admitted a fear of bats. Zolanowski said, “Game Boy has made me what I am today.”
Each of the school’s contestants performed their group dances.
Yocum, who was on hand to crown the new Mr. Temecula, expressed his appreciation for being selected as Mr. Temecula the previous year.
Marc Fimbres was selected 2015 Mr. Temecula.
“This is beyond belief,” exclaimed Fimbres, as he thanked the audience and the judges. “This is such an honor. I am blessed to have an opportunity to be here in the first place.”
Fimbres is known for his school spirit, ever-present smile and for picking up trash on campus. Renner Miguel of TVHS was selected for third place. Jonathan Hernandez of GOHS was named first runner-up.
“The talent is entertaining every year and gets better,” said Comello, the lone returning judge from last year.
“This was so impressive and entertaining,” said Prestifilippo, “I’m so proud of these kids!”
“It was fun,” said Larson, “I love the youth and their interscholastic spirit is amazing. I love how everyone comes together and and is happy and supportive of whoever wins!”