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It might be scheduled for April Fool's Day, but Belle Fourche's Mr. Beautiful Fork fundraiser and competition is no joke. 

Five local men will compete against each other Friday, April 1, at 7 p.m. at the Grap's Burgers and Brews banquet room to gain votes from judges and community members to win the "personality pageant," or "comedic manly pageant," as the contestants have come to call it. 

The idea was brought forward by one of the contestants, Geno Pesicka. Other contestants are Scott Jones, Nick Loper, Shawn Ankeny and Aaron Fowler. 

Pesicka participated in an event when he was attending college at Black Hills State University called "Cinderfella," and thus pitched the idea for Belle Fourche a few years ago. The name for Belle Fourche's event came from another committee member. 

"The timing was right to have it this year," said Belle Fourche Area Community Center Director Michelle Deyo-Amende. 

Veteran theater members Carrie Donovan and Robert Soderstrom are the event's master of ceremonies. 

Tickets are $15 to attend to benefit the Belle Fourche Community Theater program. Those who purchase tickets are allotted one vote for their favorite candidate.

Additionally, votes can be purchased for $1 per vote. The judges scores will make up the other portion of scores to determine the winner. 

All proceeds will benefit theater improvements. Those improvements not only benefit the theater community, but also any group that hosts recitals or concerts at the community center, said Deyo-Amende. 

Additionally, funds will help kick-start a middle school theater program this summer. 

The hope is to offer the program to middle schoolers for free July 11-15 at the community center to provide workshops and on-stage performance opportunities for children to "learn was theater art is all about and give them an opportunity to show what they've learned," Deyo-Amende said. 

Season sponsors for the event are Integrity Meats and Johnson Electric. The Belle Fourche Arts Council will also match the donations raised by this fundraiser. 

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The night will include an opening dance, a talent and evening wear portion, where contestants will dress in their interpretation of what evening wear means to them. 

The five participants will also answer a prepared question from the judges, mingle with the audience and then answer a few audience questions, depending on time. 

"The audience will be really involved, and we want to keep the contestants involved, too," Deyo-Amende said. "It's an interactive, fun fundraiser, and it's different." 

There is a limited amount of tickets, so those who want to go may want to purchase their tickets early, Deyo-Amende said. Tickets can be purchased early at the Belle Fourche Area Community Center. 

Votes have already started coming in at the community center. Voting buckets are also available at the BFACC. Early voters can vote for $1. Contestants videos stating why they deserve votes can also be seen on the Belle Fourche Community Theater's Facebook page

"I think it will sell out," Pesicka said. "People are already asking what in the world we're doing. It'll be good for Belle Fourche for a few years." 

Contact Emily Niebrugge at 892-2528 ext. 105 or emily.niebrugge@rapidcityjournal.com

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