Contrary to popular belief the hottest ticket to be purchased in town last week was not to be found at a local market in hopes of becoming a Powerball millionaire. The $5 ticket which yielded hours of entertainment came in the way of the Third Annual Royal Rams Competition hosted Friday, Jan. 8 at Magnolia Auditorium.
The event is a fundraiser to aid Oakdale Junior High student body with the expense of their annual eighth grade graduation trip to Six Flags Marine World. Funds were raised through event ticket, Fan Favorite ticket and poster sales. Admission was $5 per person, Fan favorite tickets sold for $1 each and posters were $10.
This year’s event proved to be the most successful yet, as 27 eighth grade couples participated. Participants competed in the categories of Fitness, Formal Wear and Famous Couple, before a panel of five judges. They were also judged in the categories of Congeniality, GRIT and Fan Favorite which was decided by peers, administrators and ticket sales (for Fan Favorite).
“It just keeps getting more successful, which is amazing,” OJHS Assistant Principal Diana Crofts stated. “It’s a great way for kids to make memories in their eighth grade year.”
Winners of this year’s event were First Place: Max Moore and Hayley Cabral; Second Place: Cael Black and Cora Burns; and Third Place: Christopher Frye and Madelynn Goodman. Individual category winners were: Fitness - Sergio Millard and Jaden Chau; Formal Wear - Michael Medlin and Anna Holmes; Famous Couple - Max Moore and Hayley Cabral; Congeniality - Evan Waite and Nicole Batezell; GRIT: Max Marin and Samantha Ballard; and Fan Favorite - Nathan Hyde and Kenzee Wright.
“It has nothing to do with who collects the most or who raises the most,” Crofts said of the overall and individual winners, noting that Fan Favorite is the only category determined from ‘popular’ vote.
Overall winners, as well as the chosen Famous Couple pair Max Moore and Hayley Cabral each shared they found the event to be a lot of fun and memorable. The duo chose Donald and Melania Trump as their famous couple to speak on behalf of during the competition.
“I didn’t really want to do it,” Max stated of his initial thoughts on participating in the competition, “but a bunch of my friends were doing it so, why not?”
The eighth grader shared a schedule busy with basketball, golf and school studies made it tough to attend the twice weekly practices, but Hayley covered well for the duo.
“We’ve known each other for a long time,” Hayley said of her ‘Donald’. “I knew he would be a great partner.”
Hayley also shared her motive to participate in the growing popular event was two-fold. First being to prove to some family members that one need not be ‘popular’ to win and second to help raise money for the class trip.
“I kind of really wanted to do it for that,” she said of the fundraising aspect. “That it’s not just going to two people but the whole eighth grade.”
“I had a really great time with my friends,” Max admitted. “I’m definitely glad I did it.”
His family however, may have been a bit surprised as they arrived to a packed house of family, friends and well-wishers for the 54 contestants.
“They thought it was just like a little activity thing,” Max shared. “They didn’t realize it was a big deal until they showed up.”
As for the moment the two were announced overall winners, both students admitted to complete surprise, noting that they thought once you won a category that was it and as the named Famous Couple, they were happy.
“When we got called up I thought that was going to be a Steve Harvey moment,” Hayley shared, “Like Miss Philippines actually won.”
“It wasn’t like any one couple dominated the whole thing,” Crofts said of the event and overall results. “It was just neat how it was spread over all.”