Step forward, Mr. South Whidbey

Mr. South Whidbey 2010, Doug Kelly, will have to give up his crown Saturday, Oct. 8 when his successor takes the throne. - Patricia Duff / The Record
Mr. South Whidbey 2010, Doug Kelly, will have to give up his crown Saturday, Oct. 8 when his successor takes the throne.
— image credit: Patricia Duff / The Record

Let the bribes and stuffing begin.

The sixth annual Mr. South Whidbey Pageant gets underway at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8 at Freeland Hall.

The event, hosted by Sue Frause, strives to help fill the coffers of the Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund, a community-supported fund offering financial help to South Whidbey residents who need help paying medical-related bills.

Six gentleman have thrown their hats in the ring this year in an attempt to pluck the pageant crown off the head of last year’s winning Mr. South Whidbey, Doug Kelly.

The good-sport gents are Brian Plebanek, Craig Weiner, Dean Hatt, Larry Dobson, Don Denman and Peter Lawlor. The boys will have to show competitive chutzpah during the three main activities of the evening: best costume, a question-and-answer session and an awesome and unapologetic display of “talent.”

During and after each segment, the audience votes by putting cash (or script) into a candidate’s container, circulated by previous poor sods, er, candidates and other male volunteers. The cash is then collected into a single ballot box for each contender. The candidate who raises the most money wins the kingly title of “Mr. South Whidbey” for one year (fashionable crown and scepter included).

Frause, who hosted two previous pageants, said to expect the unexpected.

“My favorite part about the event is that it’s unrehearsed from a production point of view,” she said.

“Although we do a brief technical run-through on Saturday afternoon with the six candidates, it’s without costumes, talent or any of the questions that I will ask of each candidate. In other words, I’m as surprised as the audience is as to what’s going to come down the catwalk!”

Here to describe why they deserve the crown are the candidates and their pleas for votes:

Brian Plebanek

“I am honored to be included in this annual humiliation for a great cause and will do my best to appropriately (or inappropriately) embarrass myself to rob, pillage and coerce the residents of South Whidbey and beyond to support the Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund by voting for moi.

“I recruited my wife to campaign on my behalf. ‘Please vote for Brian for Mr. South Whidbey because he is very cute, is riveting on stage, and dutifully takes his golden retriever to the dog park every day. He always serves great wine, cooks a mean pasta primavera and, for those of you who remember, can really rock a pair of chaps,’ said his wife Gail Liston. Why would anyone vote for another candidate?”


Craig Weiner

“I feel that I am the perfect choice to be Mr. South Whidbey because secretly I have always wanted to wear a crown, but back then only the girls got to compete for that honor.

“When I moved to South Whidbey and heard about this world renowned competition I started from day one with a secret campaign to eventually grasp this honor, covertly stumping at every South Whidbey festival, posting flyers, sending emails, all in the secret hope of one day being awarded the big brass ring.

“While I am actually a very shy person, the possibility of taking over the throne from Doug Kelly would be the greatest achievement that I could ever imagine, and I will muster whatever courage and outrageous behavior it takes to outperform my respectable competition and do what is required of me to wrench that bejeweled crown from him.”


Peter Lawlor

“I think I could be the right choice to sit on the throne of Mr. South Whidbey mainly because I like sitting.

“I like all small dogs and a modicum of small children. I could encourage staunch old men (with hearing aids) to make our city pronouncements. I would justify dear old ladies (without hearing aids) because they don’t need them.

“I like also local traffic officers who gently caution me on minor infractions when observing my hopeless state. The only thing I would like to change about Langley is to move the whole place way, way south in winter.”


Larry Dobson

“As a grateful recipient of the loving assistance of Friends of Friends, I know intimately the countless blessings this selfless organization has spread throughout this Isle of View. They need piles of cash to raise our wellness vibes.

“Since 1970, I have stood tall on South Whidbey for over-the-top, rebel counterculture and artistic expression of zany grass-roots hippy freedom in its highest form.  What more elevated icon could you choose for the high title of ‘Mr. South Whidbey?’”


Dean Hatt

“Growing up on the island as a young boy, I would hear tales of Mr. South Whidbey. He was a ‘big’ man who had the power to do great things. I thought it was a myth, that no such person could possibly exist! As I grew older,

I realized that the myth was a fact.

“From that day forward it has been my life’s ambition to obtain the title. My talent is known throughout the land.

I am the Karaoke King. And those who attend Trinity Lutheran Church are blessed on Sunday mornings by my ‘perfect pitch’ vocals. My choir director Karl Olsen, who is a member of the world renowned Brother’s Four, has hinted that in the future he sees a Brother’s Five.

“During my reign as Mr. South Whidbey, I plan on becoming a fashionista, and also on singing my praises throughout the land.

“Oh, by the way, my wife wants to remind everyone that earplugs can be purchased at Linds.”


Don Denman

“Quite frankly, I believe that I would be the worst Mr. South Whidbey ever!

“I am hot-headed, egotistical, extremely narcissistic, self-promoting, bombastic, disagreeable, untrustworthy, amoral, immoral and completely irresponsible. Hmmm, maybe I should get into politics.

“If I was actually crowned Mr. South Whidbey, for some reason beyond any sane or rational explanation, I can assure you that I would do nothing but wreak havoc during my reign with the primary goal aimed toward turning the entire South End into a smoldering, uninhabitable, toxic dung-heap. With this, I humbly ask for your vote.”

May the best money grabber win. But, for that to happen the event needs ballot box stuffers. Tickets are $25 and include a light dinner of sliders (chicken or veggie) by Ovations Catering, with local veggies from Pam’s Produce and desserts by Double Bluff Baking. Beer and wine is available at additional cost. Tickets can be purchased at Timbuktu Coffee in Freeland and Moonraker Books in Langley.

Everyone can also vote prior to the event at, or by mail by sending a check to Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund, PO Box 812, Langley, WA 98260, with the designated candidate’s name on the memo line of the check.

Mr. South Whidbey Pageant at Freeland Hall

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8.

Where: Freeland Hall, 1515 Shoreview Dr.

Why: To support the Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund.

Ticket info: Tickets cost $25 and are available at Moonraker Books in Langley and Timbuktu Java Bar & Gallery in Freeland.





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