Students, family and friends gathered together on Saturday, Feb. 25 to see the Crusader Knights candidates perform in the 2017 showdown.
The competition, that drew its inspiration from the Oscars, celebrated its 25th year with odes to films like Rudy, Pirates of the Caribbean, Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, Like Mike, The Karate Kid, and The Breakfast Club.
Crusader Knights has become one of the most beloved campus traditions over the years and has come a long way from its beginnings in 1993. The contestants are now responsible for creating a one-of-a-kind introduction video to showcase their unique perspective and humor.
The men are also judged on their performance in the group dance, their individual walks and their ability to answer interview questions.
The contestants receive scores for each category in the competition, and then six finalists are chosen—including one contestant who is chosen by campus vote. When the scores have been tallied, the new Mr. Crusader Night is dubbed by the university president.
Senior public relations major and assistant director of this year’s competition Kelsey McDaniel said you could really see the personality of each contestant come out in their introduction videos.
McDaniel feels privileged that she had the chance to get to know each participant.
“It was a great experience working with Cru Knights,” she said. “I’ve always been behind the scenes with it and never thought that I would receive a leadership position like this one. I loved every second of it.”
McDaniel said her favorite aspect of the competition was learning about the causes the contestants are passionate about like mentoring younger students and reaching out to other communities.
“Working on their minute videos with them was also fun because you really get to see behind the scenes of the production and the goofy sides and the more serious sides of them,” she said.
After each introduction video, the contestant was given a spotlight question and had a few minutes to improvise a scene. Many of the contestants made the audience laugh.
Crusader Knight candidates also performed three dances that not only showed off their dance skills but also showcased their individual personalities.
“I really enjoyed watching the guys perform the dances,” said sophomore nursing major, Carrena Taylor. “I thought there were really funny.”
After a 10-minute intermission, the contestants were lined up and the top six finalists were announced. The top six included: First-year council candidate Jacob Chesser, Senior Class candidate Alex Miller, Campus Associations Board candidate Isaac Felan, the UMHB Administrators candidate Dylan Medlin, and Freshman Class candidate Nathan Vandolzer.
After the runners up were announced, the audience exploded into applause, realizing that Alex Miller was the new Mr. Crusader Knight.
The senior sports management major said winning the crown was the best feeling ever.
“I was super nervous about it and didn’t know what to expect,” Miller said, “I’m not good in front of people so when they called Mr. Senior Class, I was nervous.”
Miller said he will probably continue to do what he had been doing before he became Mr. Cru Knight, which was hanging out with friends and loving on other people.
“[This was] the best experience I have ever had at UMHB. Building that brotherhood and relationships through devotionals and practices and sharing our faith with each other was amazing,” he said. “Being able to go through this experience with the other guys meant the world to me.”
Published in the March 8, 2017 issue of The Bells