CMU men compete for the Deepher Dude 2017 title in the annual pageant fundraiser


Junior Johvi Reynolds shows off his comfort outfit at Delta Phi Epsilon's Deepher Dude annual pageant on Sept. 28 at Pearce Hall.

A high-energy crowd of more than 90 people attended the Deepher Dudes Pageant Thursday night in Pearce 128.

The pageant, hosted by the Beta Phi chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon, raised money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Delta Phi Epsilon members Grandville senior Pamela Henning and Rochester Hills junior Jeanette White, started planning the event back in July. The cause, Cystic Fibrosis, is personal to Henning, whose older brother suffers from the disorder.

Fifteen Central Michigan University men participated in three categories for the title of 2017 Deepher Dude. Catergories included the displaying of their favorite outfit, best talent and a Q&A segment. 

White and Henning said there was a lot of behind the scenes work for the pageant, enough to be considered a full-time job. 

“It was stressful, but I work better under pressure and I get a lot of stuff done, so it felt good," Henning said. "Sometimes I feel like we don’t know how much we can accomplish until we do."

The crowd exceeded both White and Hennings' expectations, as well as last year's turn-out.

The event started shortly after 7 p.m. when the guest judges, CMU football coach John Bonamego and his wife, Paulette Bonamego, arrived. Senior Monica Bradburn and junior Katie Zwick hosted the event and announced the participants by listing a few facts about each of them as they came onto stage. 

The 15 contestants started off the pageant by each wearing a notable outfit. Lake Orion junior Duncan Tierney wore a T-shirt sporting the hand-written words, “only some cheese.” Tyler Anderson, another contestant, wore a suit and tie with a Christmas-sweater pattern. 

As Johvi Reynolds’ name was announced he made his appearance wearing nothing but a pair of overall shorts, light-up sneakers and sunglasses, which he purposely dropped to bend over and pick up, eliciting cheers and whistling from the crowd.

In the second portion of the pageant, participants showcased their talents, which ranged from telling dad jokes, musical performances and an attempt by participant Andrew McCarthy at painting a random audience member. Logan Wilcox, member of Pi Kappa Phi, taught the crowd how to “dab” and Liam Kerr “tamed a beast,” the beast being his puppy dressed in a lion costume. 

For the last portion of the event, the participants answered various questions, including “If you had three wishes what would they be?” and “what kinds of risks are worth taking?” Each of the contestants also answered why they wanted to be the 2017 Deepher Dude. 

Ben Zindler was crowned the winner, with Dan Austin awarded runner-up. 

Zindler, a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, didn't expect to win. 

“I had no expectations coming in of what was going to happen," Zindler said. "I brought a couple pairs of clothes because I didn’t know what to do and expect, who was going to be here, what I had to do, and like what the questions were,” 

He won with his pink dress shirt apparel, a “butter on a Pop-Tart” song and trombone performance -- a reference to the show Family Guy -- and his answer to the question “if you could travel to one place where would it be?” Zindler shared that his grandmother had spent time in Auschwitz during World War II and he would wish to travel there given the chance, as well as see her hometown.

Duncan Tierney was chosen as a third winner and "crowd favorite" via the loudest cheers. 

“I kind of wanted to know what would happen if I actively tried to lose, as hard as I could, and I won,” Tierney said. “I actively tried to do the things that people would just kind of sit silently at.”

For his talent, Tierney called a random volunteer to stage, then proceeded to pour himself a bowl of Puffins cereal and silently eat it, while his volunteer stood speechless on stage. It was the first idea that came to him when he was planning for the pageant, and he decided to call up a volunteer last minute because he thought it would be funny. Tierney admitted that he was nervous while on stage.

“My face just kind of shuts down when it’s nervous, which is really helpful because I was sweating through my shirt,” Tierney said. 

Grand Rapids freshman Mariah DeHoop came out to support her friend and the cause.

“One of my closest friends from high school has cystic fibrosis, so it’s also a great way to support her,” DeHoop said.