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Monday, June 24, 2024

Snazzy suits, cowboy hats and tiny Speedos were all part of the show at Tuesday night's pageant to choose Mr. UF.

More than 1,000 students and parents gathered in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom to see Theta Chi Fraternity's Aaron Crespin, a UF building and construction junior, snag the title, while raising donations in the process.

Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority, who hosts the event every year, sends the pageant's proceeds to the National Arthritis Research Foundation. This year they raised an estimated $10,000, according to event coordinator Megan Humphrey.

At the start of the about two-hour event, the 28 fraternity members competing in the pageant were escorted onto the stage by their pageant coaches and introduced to the audience.

Contestants were judged on the creativity of their outfits, stage presence and the audience's response to their introduction. The talent portion of the event included dance routines, rapping and shirtless comedy skits.

The audience cheered loudly for each of the contestants, occasionally singing and clapping along with some of the routines.

Numerous members of the Greek community attended to support their fraternity brother or chapter representative. Others just came to have fun and to support the cause with a $5 entrance fee.

UF freshman Jaclyn Freesman was there to support Alpha Epsilon Pi's contestant.

"I think it's a really good way to raise money because the boys get really into it and all the girls like to come and watch the guys act goofy," she said.

During the final round of the competition, the top five contestants stood under a red and white balloon arch on stage to answer one final question before the winner was announced.

Kori Benton, an economics junior, thought a philanthropy event like this pageant is primarily entertaining and worth attending.

"Any time you can have fun and help others, why not?"

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