Evan Mullins, a freshman math education major from Sweeny, Texas, was crowned Mr. Crusader Knight.
In Bachelorette-style, Julie O’Rear, wife of university President Randy O’Rear, presented a rose to the winner in front of the audience in the W.W. Walton Chapel, Feb. 27.
“When she handed me the rose on stage, I was speechless. I was completely blown away,” Mullins said.
He represented the freshman class as one of 20 contestants who took part in Crusader Knights this year. He was judged on four categories: dance, strut, video and interview.
During the competition, the participants performed group dances together as well as in small teams of five members each.
“In our group, we danced to a song by ’N Sync. It was a blast from the past,
and we made it funny,” Mullins said.
They also showed the audience a short video filmed while the contestants went on a staged date with Julie O’Rear.
In Mullins’ date video, he gave many different gifts tothe fi rst lady O’Rear during the “date.”
He made her a T-shirt, a picture out of macaroni art, and a glitter-covered “key to his heart.”
He even played a song on his guitar written especially for her.
“My video wasn’t as funny as Ben Baecker’s, but Mrs. O’Rear really liked the song,” Mullins said.
The top five contestants answered two interview questions each during the final night of the competition.
In one question, Mullins was asked why he wanted to teach math and do missionary work.
“What led me to be interested in teaching in impoverished countries started in the eighth grade when I received a call to youth ministry,” he said.
Mullins started going to Super Summer leadership camps to prepare him for the ministry.
“Through those camps, I became involved in a mission organization called
iGo Global. Through them, I went to Germany in 2007 and Tokyo, Japan, in 2009,” Mullins said.
He realized after going on the mission trips that it was hard for him to do ministry work with people from industrialized countries.
When he first came to the university, Mullins started as a Christian ministry
In a class, he heard the founder of Hope for the Hungry talk about schools in Haiti that needed teachers.
“My desire for missions, the need for teachers in Haiti and the difficulty I have with industrialized countries, led me to change my major to math education and begin to pursue a career in teaching and doing mission work in impoverished countries,” he said.
All the Cru Knights contestants put many hours into practices to make the two-night event successful.
“Practices were long and tiring but a lot of fun. Looking back, I miss it,” Mullins said. “I enjoyed the practices more than the actual performance.”
He gained valuable relationships from his experience in Crusader Knights
by forming strong connections and relationships with the other students
during the competition.
“The biggest rewards were the friendships I made. They will last throughout college,” he said.
Sophomore computer graphic design major Coley Taylor was the director of Crusader Knights.
He worked with Mullins throughout the competition.
“He was fun to work with and had a great personality, in practice and out,” Taylor said. “He did what he was asked when he was asked. It was hard to be mad at Evan.”
Mullins will receive a scholarship, and he will make social appearances at various events throughout the year for winning Crusader Knights.
Now that the competition is over and the stage lights have dimmed, Mullins said he is focusing on being himself and that life isn’t too much different.
“It’s awkward. I’m still me,” he said. “Crusader Knight is a big title, but my
identity is in Christ, not Cru Knights, so it won’t change who I am.”