Mr. Mature America 2017 is Matthew Allen

first_imgThey sang, they danced, they sashayed down the runway. And, mercifully, no one broke a hip in the process.When the “old geezer” jokes and fake limping finally were over, a 64-year-old financial adviser who is the brother of a former astronaut and the uncle of two Ocean City beauty queens was crowned Mr. Mature America 2017 on Saturday night.Matthew Allen, of Newtown, Pa., beat out nine other contestants ranging in age from 58 to 88 to win the title during a slapstick-like show at the Ocean City Music Pier hosted by 85-year-old TV talk show legend Regis Philbin.As he strutted triumphantly down the runway with the crown teetering on his head, Allen was serenaded with an irreverent pageant song that hailed him as a “handsome geezer” and asked, “Hip hip hooray, is your hip still OK?”Pageant Director Michael Hartman, left, shares a laugh with TV personality Regis Philbin, who served as master of ceremonies.“I’m feeling a little bit silly right now with this crown on my head,” Allen confessed in an interview minutes later. “But I also feel great.”A parody of America’s oh-so-serious female beauty pageants, the Mr. Mature contest is the only one of its kind in the entire country. It is open to men 55 and older who compete in the talent, poise and on-stage interview segments.Sorry, ladies, there was no swimsuit contest.Named first runner-up Saturday night was Gregg Clayton, 58, of Somers Point. Second runner-up was Frank Formica, 65, of Atlantic City, who is already well-known to the public as the chairman of the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders.To open the show, Mr. Mature America 2016 Rene Sese led the contestants in a song-and-dance routine featuring the 1970s Village People hit “Macho Man.” Hamming it up for the audience, some of the contestants rolled up the sleeves of their T-shirts to reveal their saggy arm muscles.Allen performed a song-and-dance number during the talent portion, impersonating both Sonny and Cher in his comical rendition of “I Got You Babe.”Rene Sese, Mr. Mature America 2016, leads the contestants in a song-and-dance routine to the beat of the Village People’s hit 1970s record “Macho Man.”Dressed as a 1960s hippie, replete with a flowing wig and a big peace symbol, he alternately sang the Sonny parts and the Cher parts of the song without missing a beat. The audience exploded in laughter while watching his melodramatic dance steps.When Allen wrapped up his outrageous performance, Philbin, feigning shock, turned to Michael Hartman, the pageant director, and joked, “Do you check these people before you land them?”“We do a background check,” Hartman wittily replied.Allen certainly has an interesting background. His brother, Andrew Allen, is a former astronaut who flew on three shuttle missions. During the on-stage interview segment conducted by Philbin, Allen stressed how “incredibly proud” he and his family are of his brother.Allen has some other family members who are well-known, certainly in the beauty pageant world. His niece, Charlotte Erickson, 11, is the reigning Little Miss Ocean City. Charlotte’s 19-year-old sister, Julia, is a former Little Miss Ocean City and Junior Miss Ocean City.During the talent portion, Matthew Allen impersonated Sonny and Cher byperforming their hit “I Got You Babe.”“He’s been going to see everyone else’s beauty pageants. He finally got a chance to be in his own. That’s the joke,” said Tom Erickson, Allen’s brother-in-law and the father of Charlotte and Julia Erickson.Allen noted that it was Charlotte who encouraged him to enter the Mr. Mature America Pageant.“She said, ‘Uncle, you need to do it,’” Allen recalled, laughing.Mark Soifer, 84, who retired last year after serving for 45 years as Ocean City’s public relations director, created the Mr. Mature America Pageant in 2014 to add to his list of wacky, tourist-friendly special events that have generated tons of national publicity for the beach town. One of those events is the annual Miss Crustacean contest, a hilarious beauty pageant for hermit crabs.City officials presented Soifer with a lifetime achievement award Saturday night during the Mr. Mature America ceremonies. While accepting it, Soifer quipped that it was a “well-deserved” accolade that recognized his “huge contributions” to the city.Although the Mr. Mature America contest is a spoof of other beauty pageants, Soifer has emphasized that it is also a forum allowing men 55 and older to showcase their talents and prove that the older generation remains relevant.Allen, as the new Mr. Mature America, embraced that message.“It’s a tribute to older men. As an older man, I guess my role will be to make sure that people my age stay active and stay involved,” he said. Mr. Mature America 2017 Matthew Allen accepts the crown from Rene Sese, Mr. Mature America 2016.last_img read more