To a chorus of cheers from the packed stands, Conner Saso strutted out onto the stage at the Colusa County Fairgrounds Grandstands last Friday, donning an orange dress, high heels and long blonde wig.
He twirled Barbara Walker, his grandmother and “fairy godmother” for the 2017 Mr. Cinderfella Pageant, before picking up the microphone for and delivering his introductory speech in a syrupy mock-Southern Drawl.
Just after giving a shoutout to his “Colusa girlfriends out in the stands,” Saso brushed his blonde locks back out of his face and dropped his Southern Belle shtick.
“This is hard, with the hair,” he said, before getting himself back into character.
It turned out to be nothing the 16-year-old incoming junior at Colusa High School couldn’t handle, as Saso was crowned the Colusa County Fair’s 2017 Mr. Cinderfella at the conclusion of the mock-beauty pageant – the fifth annual for the Colusa County Fair.
Saso earned himself a $500 scholarship, in addition to a $1000 prize for the Colusa High School program of his choice: the RedHawks’ varsity football team.
The Colusa County Fair’s Mr. Cinderfella Pageant was started in 2012 to help boost Friday night fair attendance and to help out the county’s five high schools. Each year, a handful of male contestants don dresses, heels and makeup in a spoof of the traditional beauty pageant. In the name of entertainment, contestants compete in categories similar to those found in a traditional pageant, including a talent and a question and answer portion.
Since it began, the pageant has grown to become a popular attraction for spectators in search of a laugh and an enticing fundraising opportunity for local high school programs.
In addition to the Colusa RedHawks varsity football team, other programs that stood to benefit from the pageant were the RedHawks cross country program, Pierce High School’s track and field team and their small engines program, and Williams High School’s Class of 2019.
First runner-up Ernie Cross, an incoming senior at Pierce High, was awarded a $250 scholarship and $250 for Pierce’s small engines class.■