No deductions for facial hair or beer belly, Mark Williamson learned, and no points off for Harley boots or even tattoos. Williamson already has a ponytail down his back so he doesn't need a wig. Good, the 6-foot-1 inch, 240-pound millwright won't start out behind the other beauties.
"Good thing, too -- thought I'd have to catch up during the talent part," he said.
But Williamson did have to try on new clothes for the first beauty pageant of his 50-year-old life.
"Sequins," he said. "Never thought I'd be worryin' if I should wear sequins on my evening gown, or just go with a strapless model that shows off a lot of skin. And then I had to worry about my day wear. Can't forget that."
Williamson will join as many as 17 other lovelies on the catwalk of the Long Branch saloon Sunday. Not salon, but saloon, where bikers who think they are the daintiest, cutest, sweetest little darlings to ever strut in a pair of high heels or cowboy boots will vie to be crowned Miss Womanless for 2007. The fundraising show is in its fifth incarnation, the brainchild of a gold-hearted soul named Ruby Red of the Star Sisters motorcycle group.
Star Sisters raises money for good causes all the time, even helped start a church for bikers last year. Last year, the contest raised about $1,000 for gifts for older people that some area churches helped identify.
Deborah Forsythe is Ruby Red's real name. But in the biker world, if you don't have a nickname, or in this contest a hairy gut or even hairy back, you might not win the crown. This is a tough crowd.
In the audience will be a former winner named Fatback. Kenny Philbeck, or Fatback, who last year was relegated to second runner-up. The show horse.
"Doggone it, I looked real purty last year but this guy wearing something with flamingos on it won," Fatback said. "People said he just looked so, so feminine."
Yep, all ladylike, with those tattoos and the handlebar mustache and the bagpipes for talent and the Harley chopper.
A bout with ill health will keep the great Fatback, who has been Santa Claus for these seniors because his belly and beard and long gray-white hair are real, off the performance stage this year. But he will wear his pink shirt that winners get and sit in the front row and watch his closest tough-guy friends sashay by in slipless gowns.
But Fatback, does it take a lot of guts for a burly biker to strut and sing and even dance?
Apparently not. One dainty guy nicknamed Fattman won last year in a lovely blue strapless number that left plenty of room for the tattoo "FATTMAN" to show shoulder to shoulder across his massive back.
"If it takes dressing up like a woman to raise money for these people who deserve it, then that's what needs to be done," Fatback said.
Williamson, nicknamed "Trip" because one time at Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Fla., he did just that more times than he would have liked, said, "These senior citizens deserve something nice. And we are just the ladies -- I mean men -- to help them."
There's even a talent part to the contest. A beer-bellied biker can sing, like last year's winner who belted out a rollicking version of "You Ain't Woman Enough to Take My Man."
He -- or is it she? -- can lip-sync or he can pole dance. Yes, that dance known best as the way strippers make a couple of extra bucks.
There will be sashes for the contestants, and that's the reason why the limit is 18 contestants.
"I only have 18 sashes -- can't have a beauty without a sash across her belly, can I?" said Ruby Red, the emcee of the show. There are judges, tiaras and crowns.
But hopefully, no thongs.