Dylan Miller (far left) is crowned Mr. Bulldog 2018, by 2017 Mr. Bulldog, Josh Lezcano at the conclusion of the 2018 Mr. Bulldog Pageant, held April 21 at Creswell High School. Congratulating Miller are fellow contestants (from left) Blake Nelson, Trey Magnuson, Eli Ream and Jack Callahan. GINI DAVIS – THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE
Dylan Miller’s crowning as Mr. Bulldog 2018 capped last Saturday’s annual Mr. Bulldog Pageant, in which five Creswell High School senior contestants cavorted in Disney princess costumes, escorted their ”Little Buddies” and their moms, exhibited various talents and showcased their exuberant yet caring personalities.
The event, held in the CHS commons and emceed by KEZI 9 News anchor, Matt Templeman wrapped months of fundraising for the Children’s Miracle Network, through its Kids Helping Kids program.
As the Mr. Bulldog Pageant, for all its hijinks, always makes clear, ”It’s all about the babies” – and this year, Miller and fellow contestants Jack Callahan, Blake Nelson, Trey Magnuson and Eli Ream, and coordinators Morgan Janshen, Bailey Howell, Jada Gallegos, Kelsey Kuhnhausen, Morgyn Forbes and Carley Wilkerson raised exactly $11,000 to help CMN provide needed medical equipment and supplies for preterm and critically ill infants and children receiving care PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center – RiverBend.
While Saturday’s announced total was $73 shy of $11,000, Mr. Bulldog Advisor Barbara Sears said someone gave her a $73 check after the Pageant.
”I love this community and how they step up to help not only these guys and girls but this program,” Sears said.
Padding Mr. Bulldog Pageant coffers were a fundraiser at The Bean Hopper, Father-Daughter Dance, Mother-Son Superhero Date Night, Contestants vs. Staff Basketball Game, ”mad dashes” for cash during the Pageant and home basketball games, and more.
The Pageant’s Disney princess-themed opening number featured Nelson as Mulan, Callahan as Ariel, Ream as Rapunzel, Magnuson as Elsa and Miller as Jasmine.
After a costume change, contestants and their Little Buddies took the stage: Nelson’s Little Buddy was Kali Roberts, Magnuson’s was Harper Purdy, Ream’s was Benji Raschio, Callahan’s was Annabelle Sullivan and Miller’s was Hattie Hollingsworth.
During the always-zany individual skits, Nelson – aided by older brother Garrhett, a former Mr. Bulldog contestant – performed ”Sax Man”; Magnuson was an overzealous ”Jacuzzi Lifeguard”; Ream demonstrated some stylin’ ”Basketball Handshakes”; Callahan hoofed his way through ”The Evolution of Dance”; and Miller released his inner ”Hannah Montana.”
Wearing tuxes provided by Blush Bridal, the contestants escorted their moms onstage as their letters to their moms were read.
Answering serious and humorous questions during the Interview segment, Miller said he’s most thankful for his mom – who traveled from Georgia to be with him on Pageant night – and demonstrated his super-secret shower-vocalist skill.
Magnuson, a CHS basketball standout, said it’s better to risk failure than never to try: ”There’s a quote that says, ‘You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take’; so, whatever your goals, give it your all and go after it.”
Callahan said if he could make one rule that, for a day, everyone had to follow, he’d require everyone to binge-watch all nine seasons of his favorite show, ”The Office” with him.
Ream said if he had to eat one food every day for the rest of his life, it would be his mom’s spaghetti.
Nelson said his involvement in Mr. Bulldog taught him the value of CMN: ”During our visit to the NICU we got to see exactly who we’re helping; it was incredible,” he said.
As his mom, Michelle, testified as guest speaker, Nelson himself is one of those ”incredible” medical miracles CMN helps make possible for children of all ages. She chronicled Blake’s life-threatening bout, as a sophomore, with necrotizing fasciitis, which hit suddenly and with a vengeance, infecting both legs, his right arm, jaw and lungs. Hospitalized for two weeks, Blake underwent 10 surgeries but, except for some well-earned ”battle” scars, made a full recovery.
”It was the most terrifying and traumatic experience of my life,” Michelle Nelson said.
Blake’s pediatric surgeon, Dr. Kim Ruscher, said both medical and community teamwork were crucial to his positive outcome: ”My team is at RiverBend, and this community is part of that team,” she said, noting that CMN funds everything from cutting-edge medical equipment to toys that help distract young patients from painful procedures.
After Pageant judges’ scores were tabulated, Callahan was named Mr. Congeniality and Miller was crowned Mr. Bulldog by 2017 Mr. Bulldog, Josh Lezcano.
”I am very proud of how this group of five guys stepped up and raised $11,000,” Sears said. ”Doing these pageants is such a big part of how funds are raised for the babies in the NICU. Every year I tell the kids, ‘This program will show you that this is something bigger than you’ – and the impact on the guys is worth all the late-night practices.”