Here to Help, Sports Zone

Bulldogs go ‘country’ to raise $8k

CHS senior Nick Bronson is crowned Mr. Bulldog 2019 by Mr. Bulldog 2018, Dylan Miller at the conclusion of Saturday’s Mr. Bulldog Pageant. Looking on are (from left) fellow contestants Andrew Spence and Jaxson Wilkerson. Gini Davis/The Creswell Chronicle

Ask any Mr. Bulldog contestant, past or present, about their experience and they’ll surely recount the hijinks and camaraderie involved in putting on the annual pageant at Creswell High School. But they’ll just as certainly remember what it’s really all about: raising money to help the Children’s Miracle Network continue making medical ”miracles” happen for local children and families.
This year’s contestants, seniors Nick Bronson, Levi Bones, Jaxson Wilkerson, Andrew Spence, Tyler Olson and Cameron DuFault, are no exception. By the time Bronson was crowned Creswell’s 2019 Mr. Bulldog, the ”country” themed 2019 Mr. Bulldog Pageant, presented by The Eugene Emeralds and held April 20 in the CHS commons, had raised $7,923 for CMN.
”Watching these guys and girls work for and raise money for something that is much bigger than themselves is always a great joy for me,” said longtime Mr. Bulldog advisor, Barbara Sears.
The pageant’s opening number featured the six ”country boy” contestants cavorting in cutoffs; sleeveless, midriff-baring plaid shirts; and cowboy boots.
In the Little Buddies segment, the guys, accompanied by youngsters, portrayed themes: ”Star Wars” for Bronson and little buddy Emerson; ”Baby Sharks” for Spence, with Payton, Bailey and Kiger; ”Lilo and Stitch” for Wilkerson and Hudson; ”Toy Story” for Bones and Brooklyn; ”Baby Elephant March” for Olson and Cashlyn; and DuFault, costumed as Rafiki, brought down the house when he presented baby Mya – dressed as Simba – as the future ”Lion King.”
Skits included Bronson’s ”Scream Lifting,” lauding the importance of a robust scream while weightlifting; Spence’s ”Basketball Scene,” Wilkerson’s clever ”Little People Dance”; Olson’s zany ”Shark Tank” pitch; and DuFault’s lipsticked ”Lip Synching” to Miley Cyrus’ ”Wrecking Ball.”
But Bones stole the show by expertly executing a country swing dance – complete with dips and backflips – with friend Payden Criddle. Asked by emcee Matt Templeman of KEZI, he credited dad Nevin Bones with teaching him to dance – ”and I just taught Payden last Saturday,” he said.
Wearing formal wear from Blush Bridal, the boys escorted their moms onstage as their recorded letters of appreciation played, and in the final Interview segment, each contestant answered one serious and one humorous question.
Asked to recount his ”most embarrassing moment,” Olson had his fellow Mr. Bulldog hopefuls in stitches with the story of an unfortunate fourth-grade basketball practice incident that necessitated a clothing change and about which he said he was teased for years.
”That was my most embarrassing moment – except, probably, explaining it right now,” Olson said, drawing chuckles.
Between the entertaining segments leading up to Wilkerson being named Mr. Congeniality and Bronson’s crowning by 2018 Mr. Bulldog Dylan Miller, were poignant reminders of the important, lifesaving work aided by these annual pageants.
Among other medical equipment and services, Lane County Kids Helping Kids pageants support two Certified Child Life Specialists at RiverBend whose knowledgeable and empathetic activities with frightened or traumatized children help them cope with ER experiences, the loss of a loved one, or frequent hospitalizations and repetitive, painful procedures.
Kids like Mateo Guerrero, whose story was told in a Miracle Family video. Diagnosed shortly after birth in 2008 with Hirschsprung’s Disease, a congenital intestinal disorder characterized by a lack of nerve cells in the intestine, causing it not to function properly, Mateo’s colon and half his small bowel were removed. Frequently rehospitalized, he has undergone 11 surgeries.
Given just a 30-percent chance of survival, Mateo is thriving, happy and well-adjusted thanks in no small part, mom Kayla said, to RiverBend Child Life Specialists Barb Blair and Megan Massey.
Their positions are fully funded by CMN and their services to children like Mateo are provided free to families. It’s an invaluable program that CMN representative Abby Rogers hopes to see expand at RiverBend.
”We’re really fortunate to have them, and having them has made such a big impact,” Rogers said, noting that most non-standalone children’s hospitals do not have Child Life Specialists, versus 40-plus at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.
”We have only two covering our Pediatrics unit, and two is not enough,” Massey said in the video. ”It’s a program I hope to see grow quickly and be able to serve every child who needs it.”
The 2019 Mr. Bulldog contestants and coordinators – seniors Bailey Howell, Morgan Janshen, Kelsey Kuhnhausen and Jada Gallegos, and juniors Carley Wilkerson, Morgyn Forbes, Brooklyn Grubbs and Jane Marquess – participated in Child Life activities while touring RiverBend’s Neonatal Intensive Care and Pediatrics units.
That annual tour is ”an eye-opener” for pageant participants, Templeman noted.
”My wife had a big brother who didn’t make it but today would have,” he added. ”Miracles do happen, with your support.”
Didn’t make your CMN donation before the Mr. Bulldog Pageant? It’s never too late to make a difference – and 100 percent of your gift stays in the local area, funding lifesaving medical care and services for infants and children.
”You don’t get to see your donations in action, but I see the effect of your donations every day in the work I do,” Massey said.
”Thank you for every dollar,” Dr. Doug Leonard, RiverBend NICU director and neonatal-perinatal physician, told pageant attendees. ”We promise to spend it as well and as best as we can.”



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