BONNERS FERRY — On Friday, March 23, young men from Bonners Ferry High School took to the stage, thrilling and amusing the audience, during the Mr. BFHS competition. The Becker Auditorium was packed for the night, lasting more than two hours, and resulting in Jesse Sandelin taking the title of Mr. BFHS.
The evening started off with the national anthem performed by Kianna Higgins, Kaylee Kramer and Rayan Naylor. The Masters of Ceremony were Boundary County School District Board Trustees David Brinkman and Ron MacDonald, who kept the audience laughing, even during slow points between performances.
“During multiple appearances throughout the night, these manly men will be showcasing their physical fitness, their talent and lip sync skills, and their self-expression, along with their best pick-up line,” explained Brinkman to the audience.
After introductions, the first performance was the fitness routine, which involved four minutes of rigorous, challenging and manly exercise combinations. Competitors were given an overall score based on strength, coordination, flexibility, agility, timing and style. They performed in two groups.
The young men performed as a group and took turns showing a stylized routine of their own, showing off their individual personalities. Competitor Nikolous Bertling impressed the judges, earning him the Fitness award.
After the fitness portion, they moved on the talent show.
“The boys will marvel us with their unique and entertaining performances. Competitors are given an overall score based on creativity, ability, originality and appropriateness,” Brinkman told the audience. “Each contestant or contestants have come up with his own talent, and trust me, the boys cannot wait to show you what they have been hiding for far too long.”
Bertling amazed the audience with a vertical pole routine, dressed in a red, white and blue outfit that he revealed after ripping off his exercise suit. Malin Worley and Shiloh Thomas had the audience laughing in their skit, a Jousting Match with a Twist, which began as an argument over milk for cereal and ended with a jousting match on tricycles.
Shayne Walker and Kendall Stone stepped lightly and took to the air in tutus during a lovely ribbon dancing routine, while Mason Eby and Zachary Duffens performed a ventriloquist skit with a back talking dummy.
Chris Sabin and Seamus Skeen danced to “Canned Heat” from “Napoleon Dynamite,” complete with curly wigs, then surprised the audience when the music changed and they began dancing, ending with a stunning lift move, echoing the famous “Dirty Dancing” scene.
Amar Fischer performed the 1983 hit “It’s Raining Men” in a lovely little black outfit and high heels, twirling his umbrella with sass. But it was Sandelin’s performance of the classic, “Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise,” that earned him the judges favor and he took the award for the talent portion of the show.
Next up was the lip sync routines, which was added in 2014, quickly becoming a crowd favorite. Each competitor had 45 seconds to lip sync and dance to any song of their choice, and were given an overall score based on their ability to follow along with the words, creativity, enthusiasm and effort.
“Single Ladies” by Beyoncé was performed by Skeen and Sabin, and had the audience rolling with laughter. Eby and Duffens lip synced to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” while Walker and Stone performed “Everyday” from “High School Musical 2.” Thomas and Worley delighted the audience with their heartfelt performance of “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, and Sandelin kept the party rolling with “Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls. Bertling brought out a beautiful umbrella for his performance of “Umbrella” by Rihanna.
Fischer, who according to his bio, has a great appreciation for sleeping, video games and doing squats at exactly 2:13 in the morning, stole the judges hearts and won the Lip Sync award with his performance of “Candyman” by Christina Aguilera.
Competitors showed their most gentlemanly qualities during the next phase, self-expression, which included a choreographed routine, followed by a pick-up line of their choice, and then an answer to a random question. They were judged on poise, grace, their pick-up line and their answer to their given questions.
Skeen got “awww” from the audience with his sweetly delivered pick-up line of, “You mind if I walk you home? My mom always told me to follow my dreams.”
On the other end of the spectrum, the audience laughed at Bertling’s nonchalant pick-up line of, “You’ll do.”
Sandelin told his waiting girl to “Forget Spiderman, Superman and Batman — I’ll be your man.”
Worley, who was wearing a cast on his arm, won the judges over and earning him the Pick-Up Line Award with, “Did you fall from heaven, because I’m pretty sure I broke my arm trying to catch you.”
“Now, sit back and take a deep breath, and prepare yourself to be dazzled by the wit and intellect of these manly contestants,” said Brinkman, introducing the question and answer portion of the evening where the contestants were all asked one question.
Malin was put on the spot with his question, which was to sing a part of his favorite song. He paused thoughtfully until someone shouted “Safety Dance” from the audience. His eyes lit up and then he bravely belted out a portion of the song.
“Wow. You’all are short,” said Stone when he approached the microphone, having to raise it up to accommodate his height.
“Well this should be interesting, then, Kendell,” Brinkman said. “What three words describe you best?”
Kendell responded simply and emphatically, “I. Am. Tall.”
The judges, Alana Temple, Ron Smith, Linda Hall, Debbie Davis and Mike Davis, had their work cut out for them, and deliberated for a long time to pick the winners.
Fischer took home the Spirit Award. Mr. BFHS Second Runner Up went to Walker, whose hobbies include mooing competitively, witchcraft, time travel, rock balancing and reading, according to his bio.
Bertling, whose future plans are to pursue tree impersonations for a living, eat metal, build a spaceship from dirt and to live underground, won the award for Mr. BFHS First Runner Up.
Sandelin, who listed his family members as mostly all pets, and says that since everything he does is a lifestyle, he currently has no hobbies to speak of, won the event, taking the title of Mr. BFHS. In proper fashion, he took to hugging all his fellow competitors.
“It is a nice experience, but there are so many other competitors that deserve it more than I do,” Sandelin said in the interview after the show was over. “It was amazing. Honestly, it is a night I won’t forget and I am really glad I got to do it with the people I did.”
Behind the scenes of the fun-filled evening were, Senior Class Advisors — Dawn Carpenter, Janis Tucker and Laura Anderson; the Distinguished Young Women Forget-Me-Nots; Edie Callison and David Carpenter and his tech crew Abby Eliassen, Haley Wenk, AJ Fischer and Alma Fischer.
Among the sponsors for the event were Sugar Plum Floral, Super 1 Foods, Mojo’s Coffee, Misty Mountain Espresso, Les Schwab Tire Center, Far-North Outfitters, Pizza Factory, and Mrs. Anderson who provided breakfast on Thursday.
For an event that was supposed to be a spoof, talent and humor shone through, as did the gentlemanly traits of the 11 young men, as evidenced by the judges being unable to pick one competitor for the Advisors’ Low Maintenance Award. It was awarded to all of them.