Chris Reusz wins first Mr. Agriculture pageant


In a not-so-typical beauty pageant, the K-State College of Agriculture Council hosted the first Mr. Agriculture pageant to add to a series of events hosted throughout Ag Fest Week.

Chris Reusz, representing the Agriculture Ambassadors and junior in bakery science and management, was named Mr. Agriculture 2016. He was followed by first runner-up Liam Williams, of Collegiate Farm Bureau and junior in agronomy, and second runner-up Cody Holliday, of the Agricultural Education Club and junior in agricultural education.

Each contestant was judged in categories including introductions, gameday attire, talent, formal wear and a question-and-answer round.

In gameday attire, outfits ranged from Reusz as a Bill Snyder look-alike, to Holliday leading the “K-S-U” chant, to Sandoval as one of K-State’s biggest fans.

In talent, Reusz gave a “low budget production of Physical Therapy: The Musical,” inspired by the time he broke his shoulder. Reusz took the audience on a journey through skiing in the Colorado mountains to the time he was stretching in physical therapy, ending with a grand finale from Beyonce, or Reusz in a wig.

“I spent most of my budget bringing in Beyonce, and it was worth it,” Reusz said.

Other talents included a sign language performance of “Down on the Farm” by Logan Evers, of Wheat State Agronomy and junior in agronomy; Williams performing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” by pounding on his head; and Brett Hamme, of the Horseman’s Association and sophomore in animal sciences and industry, playing his electric guitar.

In the formal wear and Q&A round, contestants were tested on agricultural knowledge.

“In the end, we (organic and conventional agriculturalists) are both here to feed the world,” Reusz said in response to a question on how organic and conventional farmers can work together. “We need to stop the social media gorilla warfare and show consumers that.”

The contestants were judged by Sandy Kemp, senior administrative assistant in agronomy; Don Boggs, associate dean of academic programs for the College of Agriculture; Jackie McClaskey, Kansas secretary of agriculture; and Shannon Washburn, assistant dean of the College of Agriculture and professor in agricultural education.

“It was really challenging differentiating the talent between all of the contestants,” Washburn said. “Shows we have some really talented students.”

Bliss Betzen, chair of the Mr. Agriculture pageant and senior in agronomy, said she was excited to have been able to implement an activity to get more involvement from the agriculture students during Ag Fest Week.

“I am excited to now see this ball rolling as it has the ability to continue on and really create a legacy here in the College of Agriculture,” Betzen said.

Betzen, who is also a member of Wheat State Agronomy, said she is thankful her organization funded and donated the winner’s belt buckle and traveling trophy to the pageant to give back to Ag Fest week.

Other contestants included Ashton Yoder, of the Feed Science Club and non-degree graduate in grain science; Blaine Thompson, of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences and freshman in animal sciences and industry; Lance Sandoval, of Sigma Alpha and senior in animal sciences and industry; Carl Clawson, of the Collegiate Cattlewomen and senior in animal sciences and industry; and Jared Bourek, of Block and Bridle and senior in animal sciences and industry.

“It is so surreal being the first named Mr. Agriculture,” Reusz said. “I can’t believe it. I was actually kind of forced into this by other Agriculture Ambassadors, but I’m so glad I did. This was so much fun.”

Hi, I'm Kaitlyn Alanis, former news editor for the Collegian and a May 2017 graduate in agricultural communications and journalism. I have never tried a hamburger and I hate the taste of coffee, but I love writing stories and sharing what I learn with our readers. By writing for the Collegian, I can now not only sing along when the K-State Band plays "The Band is Hot," but I also know that most agriculture students did not grow up on a farm, how to use an AED to save someone's life and why there is a bust of MLK Jr. outside of Ahearn Field House. Thanks for reading!