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The Antelope

Contestants wow audience at King of Hearts fundraiser

Judges crown Connor Wiehn the King of Hearts after his original rap. Photo provided by Kylie Schwab / Antelope Staff

Fourteen contestants graced Kearney High School’s stage at the 10th annual King of Hearts pageant. Nearly $7,000 was raised at the event for the Alpha Phi Foundation, which supports women’s heart health and scholarships. 

In the end, Connor Wiehn, also known as Mr. Sigma Epsilon, was crowned as this year’s King of Hearts. 

“Honestly, I did not expect that,” Wiehn said. “I guess we were all in the same boat. A little anxious, a little nervous, but going to the practices, learning the dances with those guys — they made it a lot more fun.”

Ethan Ciancio, Mr. Campus Rec, won the titles of Mr. People’s Choice and Mr. Congeniality. Jackson Clausen, Mr. Track and Field, was named Mr. Talented with his comedic painting routine. 

Other contestants were: 

Josiah Gonzales, Mr. Loper Spirit 

Mitchel Beeson, Mr. LPAC

Samuel Thede, Mr. Honors Program

Michael Frandolig, Mr. Phi Delta Theta

Mathew Roth, Mr. Delta Tau Delta 

Zeke Abeyta, as Mr. Accounting 

Nolan Benjamin, Mr. Elementary Education 

Andrew Howard, Mr. Sigma Tau Gamma 

Jacob Howe, Mr. Teacher Scholars Academy

Wilmer Hoisington, Mr. Pi Kappa Alpha 

Quinten Shafer, Mr. KHOP 

The men prepared a choreographed dance number, intro videos, talents and interview questions. Contestants were judged by a panel of UNK leaders, including KeyShaun VanDyke who was last year’s King of Hearts.

Wiehn won with an original rap under the stage name Toko Tucan. 

“Basically, I kind of wanted to make it kind of about (Alpha Phi) and what they’re doing and then about myself and being a part of (Sigma Phi Epsilon),” Wiehn said. “So I’d say like half the song was just about that stuff. And the other half was just throwing random things to get the song by.”

Alpha Phi sold 535 tickets for the event. Audience members could pull out their phones to donate a dollar per vote for People’s Choice. People were welcome to donate online or with checks out of the goodness of their hearts. They could also purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win gifts from donors. 

Together, they raised approximately $7,000 for women’s cardiac health. 

Throughout the process, Alpha Phi sorority members coached the contestants and introduced them to the audience. 

The planning for this event started over the summer. 

“It took a lot of time — getting the guys ready. It takes about six weeks of practice, to get them comfortable to perform on stage,” said Jacey Walstrom, the Alpha Phi, director of philanthropy. “It’s a big time commitment, but the fact that we’ve been doing it for 10 years makes it run very smoothly.”

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