O'Hair tabbed as Mr. Viking
June 10, 2008 · Updated 5:50 PM
"POULSBO - At one point Thursday evening, the audience sat in suspense at the North Kitsap auditorium, wondering who Mr. Viking would be. Would the Weird Al Yankovich impersonation be enough to push Gus Zadra over the top? Was Greg Mirick's (literally) one-note kazoo solo enough to give him the victory? Was Phil Rarick recovered from taking an awful spill off his big wheel? After falling approximately four inches to the ground, Rarick had grabbed his knee and shouted Ow!? The audience was there for the Mr. Viking Pageant, sponsored by the high school's Leaders in North Kitsap program. The pageant had seen previous life as Mr. Poulsbo, but then had taken a three-year hiatus before returning as Mr. Viking (the name was changed to avoid confusion with Miss Poulsbo). First came the introductions. Drawing on the dignity and honor of all pageants past, the eight contestants walked down the aisle: Sean Mumford, Phil Rarick, Greg Mirick, Josh Kingsbury, Matt Harlan, Shawn O'Hair, Gus Zadra, and Sean O'Connell. Mumford sprawled across a coach onstage. Rarick labored his way to the stage, a pair of swim flippers strapped to his feet. First came a question-and-answer period. Every question was different. Harlan's question was, what attribute would he like to have? The ability to say intelligent things, he said. Pause. Because I can't, he said. Rarick was asked, if his friend's dog was thrown off a cliff, what would he do to recover it? Rarick, who had clopped to the microphones still in flippers, had said, Throw my dog after it. Then came the talent portion of the program. With the lights dimmed, the contestants offered the best of their abilities. Mumford took the stage first and juggled. Rarick, wearing a safety helmet, took to the stage with a small plastic scooter and rode it from one end to the other (managing to tip over as he did). Myrick walked out with a heavy instrument case, carefully unpacked several items, arranging them all precisely on the stage, then unveiled a kazoo and played a single note. Then he carefully packed up the instrument and props and left the stage. Shennell Harris, a student serving as co-MC with John Gerke, said, What do we have next? Tap dancing. That's what it says - tap dancing. Harris was one letter off. Kingsbury appeared with several cans of Tab soda, then saucily danced across the stage with them - a Tab dance. O'Connell followed with a full-on Britney Spears impersonation, complete with bared midriff. The crowd responded with laughter and applause. Music was a part of O'Hair's performance too, as he sang an honorary Mr. Viking song in a dog-whistle high falsetto, complete with Viking armor (made of paper) and horned helmet. Harlan came out doing somersaults, then explained that his talent was going to be swallowing a goldfish and regurgitating it, but alas, the test goldfish had not come back up. Gus Zadra was the last contestant, and he gave an eerily accurate performance of Weird Al Yankovic's Eat It, complete with enormous Michael Jackson costume. Zadra opened the performance by shooting whipped cream into his mouth, and ended by throwing himself sumo-style onto a box of ice cream. In between he jiggled in his fat suit across the stage. A crew of five cleaned up after him. Afterwards, Zadra said of his performance, I wanted to do something I knew I could never do again. He added, I didn't meant to make such a big mess. I just got carried away. After a brief swimsuit competition (the contestants' shadows were played across a white screen), the overall winner was announced as ... O'Hair. He took his purple sash and bouquet with dignity ... the first Mr. Viking. O'Hair later said it took him about five minutes to write his tribute to the Mr. Viking pageant. I like to write songs like that, he said. O'Hair also said he almost missed the pageant because he had to work. I almost didn't make it, he said, but I'm glad that I did. It was fun. "