New event takes place of beloved Mr. Mustang


The Stampede

The contestants of the 2015 Mr. Mustang contest. Scott Wunsch was the winner.

Claire Chu, Managing Editor

The 12-year streak of Monte Vista’s Mr. Mustang tradition ended last year. The student body pushed for the return of the annual competition, but a new event will inaugurate in March.
Typically hosted in late February, Mr. Mustang is a contest that crowns the most talented, funny, and stylish male at Monte Vista. Judges, who are Monte Vista faculty members, determine the winner, and two hosts, who are Monte Vista students, emcee the event.
In 2018, Mr. Mustang was canceled due to a shortage of participants. The Associated Student Body (ASB) officers indicated that they prepared for the event to happen, but due to an athletic event that could not be scheduled in advance, Mr. Mustang had to be canceled.
“I made a program and got tickets for it and everything,” ASB secretary Maggie Schmidt said. “We asked guys to participate – we got 12. Three of them were soccer players who had a game the same night of the show, so they couldn’t do it. Because it was an NCS game, they had to drop out last minute, and we couldn’t quickly find three more people to replace them.”
Administration believed that the lack of participants from 2018 was a reflection of the level of student interest for Mr. Mustang.
“We did not have Mr. Mustang last year because we didn’t have enough student interest to hold the event,” assistant principal Liz Pagano said. “We wanted to make an event that was more relevant because there was no interest last year.”
Senior Lindsay Howard created a petition that received 353 signatures and leadership collected students’ letters that voiced their desire for the event. Along with four classes chanting “Mr. Mustang” at the winter rally, the interest for the return of the event was prominent.
“I don’t know if admin took the petition into consideration, but we presented everything we were given to fight for it,” ASB treasurer Meghan Lohr said. “We fought admin for what we thought the student body and our leadership class wanted in trying to get Mr. Mustang to happen.”
Since the beginning of the second semester, ASB officers have been meeting with administration to discuss the event. On Jan. 17, ASB met with principal Dr. Ahern and assistant principal Kenneth Kahn to deliver a speech regarding the student desire for Mr. Mustang.
“We have reached out to people on this campus and asked for their opinion on the matter,” the speech wrote. “We have the support from many students at this school and we wish you to consider our perspective over what you think the media might perceive this event as.”
Although Pagano was not present at the Jan. 17 meeting, ASB president Katie Pellegrini stated that the same speech was given to her and that the officers presented the petition to her.
“We showed [Pagano] student interest through the speech and the petition which had around 300 signatures at the time,” Pellegrini said.
Pagano, however, claimed that she was not aware of this information.
“I haven’t seen any of the student comments or any petition or anything like that,” Pagano said. “I heard that they are out there, but it’s hard to comment on something that I haven’t seen. Leadership did not show any of this to me.”
Howard hoped that her petition was taken into consideration because she wanted the freshmen and sophomores, who never had the opportunity to watch the show, to experience a Monte Vista tradition.
“I hope that [the petition] would show that people want Mr. Mustang to happen,” Howard said. “Everyone I have talked to has wanted this show. I hope that we will be able to show the freshmen and sophomores the spirit that comes with the event instead of losing a tradition.”
Along with the discussion of student interest, the deliberation also touched on the components of Mr. Mustang. For the 12 years that it was a contest, only males participated and 75 percent of the scoring was based on casual wear, formal wear, and swimwear while 25 percent was based on talent. As a result, a new direction of the conversation between administration and ASB emerged.
“I prefer to see a show where we would be highlighting people’s capabilities rather than their external appearances,” Pagano said. “I wanted a show that would include everyone because that would allow all of our students to be silly or talented or whatever. It is really important for us to be inclusive.”

ASB understood these circumstances, but Pellegrini explained the original purpose of Mr. Mustang. It was intended to be a satirical show to spotlight guys like former rally chair Scott Rodgers, who was unable to do conventional male activities.
“[Mr. Mustang] is supposed to be a satirical take on female beauty pageants, not meant to be sexist,” Pellegrini said. “Scott was a really big guy who couldn’t play any sports. He felt that he didn’t really have any talents, and he wanted to do a beauty pageant for all the guys who couldn’t play sports, sing, or dance – conventional talents. The younger kids could look up to them and think that they don’t have to be an athlete to be a big person on campus.”
Lohr compared the structure of Mr. Mustang to that of the Powderpuff game, a flag football game between junior and senior girls.
“[Mr. Mustang] was put on by both genders, but only the boys were showcased and the girls ran backstage,” Lohr said. “This is the way Powderpuff runs, but girls play and the guys do the coaching. It was like that, but admin wanted [Mr. Mustang] to be more inclusive.”
ASB had several meetings to propose Mr. Mustang to which administration challenged the officers to create a hybrid.
“Admin took two weeks to come back to us and denied [the Mr. Mustang proposal],” Pellegrini said. “We felt really defeated afterward because we’re here to represent the students, and we’ve been working really hard to get what the students want. With that said, we got to a point where admin wanted us to come up with a hybrid, and we felt like that was the fairest trade-off.”
ASB and administration agreed on the hybrid, “Who’s Your Musty,” on Feb. 8 and decided that the show will take place on March 28. Leadership classes collaborated to keep some Mr. Mustang elements, but added a scene and lip sync to showcase more talent. In addition, 16 contestants will participate instead of 12, and the show is open to all identifications.
“I wanted to open it up to have more students,” Pagano said. “If we’re going to have a three-hour show, I would like to see as many students as possible on the stage. We have so many fabulous students. I want it to be more inclusive and expansive.”
Although some students may be in disagreement with the final decision, the collective efforts of ASB and administration brought a new event that left traces of Mr. Mustang along with the additional acts.
“All of us in ASB and leadership hope that the student body realizes that we did all we could to support them and that this is the best situation we could’ve gotten out of it,” Pellegrini said. “We had the option of not doing it at all or adapting. Change will happen, and it’s not always something people want, but at the end of the day, we can either be bitter or accept it.”
With the hope for a long-lasting new tradition, Pagano believes that Who’s Your Musty will captivate the Monte Vista community through the diverse personalities that students will offer.
“I hope [the audience] can see other students who can be funny and be amazed by the strong community we have,” Pagano said. “I want them to feel that we have a community that can be promoted if they want to. I want the student body to know that I want to work for all of them to make Monte Vista the most inclusive and welcoming campus for all of our students.”