Royalty Unmasked



Four of the five homecoming queen candidates stop on stage at the Royalty Competition before their individual performances. Performances included ribbon twirling, lip syncing and more.


Popular music songs were sung and world records were broken at the 2016 Homecoming Royalty competition last Tuesday night. Audience members filled the Union Ballroom quickly and hundreds of students sat shoulder to shoulder awaiting the participants to take center stage.

The king candidates this year were: junior criminology major, Dylan Merritt; sophomore real estate, theatre performance and financial management majors, Brynjar Johnston; sophomore deciding major, Dan Happel; junior advertising and digital media marketing, and public relations majors, Trevor Rayhons and junior interactive and digital studies major, Tim Scheve.

The queen candidates were: junior elementary education major, Sadie Backoff; sophomore public relations major, Alexis Scharfenkamp; junior social work major, Liz Fitzgerald; senior social work and human resources majors, Keely Branstad and senior public relations major, Kayla Kearns.

The competition kicked off with a question portion, where each contestant was asked one funny and one serious question. Just to name a few: Merritt shared that he would be a ferret if he could choose to be any animal; Happel would bottle up Morgan Freeman’s voice; Scheve would establish a world record in petting the most number of dogs that were simultaneously petting other dogs.

After the audience got to know each contestant a little better, the competition moved onto the talent portion where Merritt kicked the night off with an impressive ribbon twirling routine. Another memorable performance was that of Johnston, who performed a comical lip sync routine to songs popular pop songs like “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus, “Me Too” by Meghan Trainor and “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton.

Scharfenkamp’s rap called, “Blackalicious’ Alphabet Aerobics” and Happel’s cover song of “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz had the entire crowd clapping and singing along.

Though many contestants performed musical numbers, Rayhons and Kearna reenacted a scene from the movie, “Stepbrothers,” where Kearna played the drums and Rayhons sang opera. After this, Branstad came out and wowed the audience with a comedy skit about how hilariously relatable she is, talking about campaniling experiences and awkward Tinder match encounters.

To end the night’s talent section, Scheve came out and broke not one, but two world records. To accomplish this, he had to break more than 57 pencils in under a minute and tell more than 11 pirate jokes in thirty seconds. He beat both of these records by breaking 58 pencils and telling 12 pirate jokes.

Scheve’s act seemed to be a crowd favorite, and sophomore elementary education major Mollie Sorber shared her thoughts.

“This kid cracks me up,” Sorber said. “When he was breaking all those pencils, I couldn’t stop laughing.”

Another crowd favorite was Happel’s cover of “I’m Yours.” Junior psychology and global health and humanitarian assistance majors, Emily Corr, said this act was her personal favorite.

“’I’m Yours’ is one of my favorite songs and I think he did a really great job covering it,” Corr said.

There are a wide variety of reasons why somebody might run for Homecoming Court, but Scheve shared that his reasons for running had a lot to do with his love for homecoming week and his passion for UNI.

Scheve said he thought he would be a great representation of the homecoming spirit because of his extensive networking across campus and leadership roles in various organizations and clubs.

“My favorite part about the talent show was watching the other royalty show off their talents for the students of UNI,” Scheve said. “It was a great time and we all had fun!”

Last Friday at the Homecoming Pep Rally, Scheve and Branstad were crowned as King and Queen.