Richard Rogers crowned Mr. Crusader Knight
On Saturday, Feb. 23, 16 men participated in the 2019 Crusader Knights competition, each hoping to earn the coveted title of Mr. Crusader Knight. Each student represented a different campus organization or residence hall. This year’s theme was the Olympics, and the participants each selected a sport to represent.
Announcers Alex Suominen and Steve Villalobos kicked off the night by welcoming the audience members, who filled the seats of Walton Chapel. The judges were then introduced. This year’s judges were Chris Barnes, Tanner Clarke and Angela Platt, all alumni of UMHB. On Saturday afternoon, the judges interviewed each contestant to get to know them on a personal level before the event. The men were scored on their interview, and this score helped determine their final standing in the competition.
After the judges were introduced to the audience, the contestant videos began. Each representative had prepared a humorous one-minute video reflecting the Olympic sport they chose to represent. After the presentation of their video, each contestant competed in a spotlight question with the help of the emcees. This year’s emcees were Aria Flores, Jenna Albright, Monica Bernal and Tanner Watson.
The men then came together to participate in a group dance, prompting plenty of laughter and cheers from the enthusiastic audience. At this point, there was a brief intermission, and audience members were given the chance to cast their votes for their favorite contestant. The contestant who received the most audience votes would automatically be a finalist.
After intermission, the audience watched a music video of the contestants that was put together by UMHB alumnus and reigning Mr. Crusader Knight Caleb Fitzwater. The contestants then returned to the stage for the announcement of the top six finalists.
Each finalist was presented with questions by Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor, Briana Frederickson. While the judges made their final decisions, the audience watched a behind-the-scenes video that demonstrated how much fun the men had preparing for the event. Director Daniel Martinez and Assistant Directors Lauren Turner and Peter Zuniga took the stage to express their gratitude and their love for the Crusader Knights event.
The representatives took the stage once more for the announcement of the awards. Each contestant was judged on their interview, video, campus vote (30 percent each) and spotlight (10 percent). The finalists were then given their titles. Fifth runner up was Seth Blankenship, Mr. Search Cru. Fourth runner up was Carter Williams Jr., Mr. Burt Hall. Third runner up was Dakota Stark, Mr. Nursing Student Association. Second runner up was Connor Tubbs, Mr. First Year Collective. First runner up was Samuel Kinnin, Mr. Circle K.
Richard Rogers, Mr. Gettys Hall, won the title of Mr. Crusader Knight 2019. The audience and other contestants cheered wildly as Rogers, a junior engineering major from Lubbock, accepted the Crusader helmet trophy.
Rogers chose to represent equestrianism in the event. His video featured him training with a small wooden rocking horse. He chose the sport because “I’ve had that little rocking horse for a long time…no one [was] going to pick it because no one has a real horse, and I don’t either, so I’ll just do that.” His humorous video prompted plenty of laughter and cheers from the audience.
After the event concluded, the contestants and audience members gathered for a reception in the Great Hall in Bawcom Student Union. As the men entered the room, their friends and family members clapped and cheered.
Rogers said that his favorite part of Cru Knights was “getting to hang out with the guys…and sometimes their terrible dancing skills,” referencing the fact that the men perform the same stroll that the women did in the Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor Pageant.
Crusader Knights was first held in 1993 by the senior class as a fundraiser. Since then, it has become a beloved annual campus tradition. The title of Mr. Crusader Knight is a highly honored one. Alongside Miss MHB, Mr. Crusader Knight is the face of the school. Each of the 16 representatives in this year’s competition proved their love for the school and dedication to the title. Congratulations to each participant!