NEWS

Atikokan teen pageant could crown its first king

11/03/2014 06:00 EST | Updated 01/03/2015 05:59 EST
For close to 40 years the Sno-Ho Snowmobile Club in Atikokan has been running a winter pageant for teen girls. 

But this year, organizers decided it was time for a change.

"We thought it's not fair that it's only open to girls," said organizer Stephanie Martin.

"It's not a beauty pageant. It's more about community involvement and gaining self-confidence, so there's no reason why guys shouldn't be able to run for the title."

Martin said reaction to the change has been positive, and this year's Sno-Ho Royal Pageant (formerly the Sno-Ho Queen Pageant) is generating a lot of interest. 

"The community's pretty excited to see if there's going to be a king this year." 

Male contestants bring new perspectives

Two boys and two girls are in the running for the 2015 title and the $1,000 scholarship that comes with it.

14 year-old Alexandre DeGagne was the first to sign up for the competition.

"I thought it would be something cool," he said. "Just to be out in the community, helping."

Contestants are required to do community service and fundraising, decorate a float for the Christmas parade, and help out with club snowmobile rides. They also have to write and perform a speech, and exhibit a talent. 

DeGagne's talent is weightlifting. 

"I can bench 170 pounds," he said.

The pageant king or queen will be crowned at a special event on February 14.

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