Event 10: El Grand Finale

The Grand Finale of the 2008 Mancathlon – “Karaoke” – was held at A’isha Bar on Saturday 15th November and was attended by the following Mancathletes:
Shane Munro, Dr Todd Keenan, Jason Gregg, Brydon Price, Gareth Ballard, Josh Short, Rodney MacFarlane, Duncan Reynolds, Gavin Marshall, Leighton Agnew, Stuart Brooke, AJ Sutton, Simon Judkins, Conrad Blight, Dr Kirk Stevens, Thomas Rowe & Simon Watson.
In the year 2007 The Mancathlon concluded in a fiery explosion of creativity; in which pheromone-soaked polyester shirts and tight whiskey-stained trousers instantly immolated amidst the sheer, blazing heat of performance. 10 brave Mancathletes clambered high atop the Karaoke stage and poured out their bright burning hearts for a fervently passionate audience of Mancathlon fans. But now in 2008 a full 17 competitors would clasp the cold microphone in their shaking, sweaty hands and do everything within their powers to convince the gathered audience that they were K-Man Number 1, Hitachi! As twilight fell on Auckland City, the subterranean bar began to fill with strange looking men in tight jeans, tight corduroys and tight leather pants. Was this AKL’s hottest new gay bar? Or was it ground zero for an impending explosion of heterosexual charisma & showmanship that would send shockwaves of machismo rippling out across the city, causing women as far away as Whangaparoa to collapse on their sofas, trembling in spontaneous orgasm?
It was the second one.
1. Shane Munro – “I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash
From Frank Sinatra to Prince and now onto Johnny Cash; Veteran Mancathlete Shane Munro had made his Mancathlon Karaoke career resurrecting the great musical icons of the 20th Century. But this year’s ‘Man in Black’ was a truly inspired choice for the big Fijian. Shane was steady rocking the dark clothes & demeanor of J.R. Cash and had gone as far as becoming addicted to amphetamines & barbiturates in the weeks leading up to the comp, showing true dedication to the character. He swaggered on stage, sneering & looking around at the folks in the audience “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” he said and launched into the bona fide rockabilly classic. He was the first man to step up to the plate but he showed nothing in the way of nerves, just like the man himself Shane was cool, calm & in command. That sweet 1-Pointer from the Truck Pull had eased his troubled mind, he was clear of the loser’s trophy and free to get down with a little rock n’ roll. The reward for his labours? A booming send off from a hugely impressed audience as El Grand Finale got underway in style…
Average Rating: 5.75
2. Dr Todd Keenan – “We Built This City” by Starship
As the thin, watery synths of this 80’s megahit began to wash over the crowd, a dynamo of a man leapt onto the stage and proceeded to tear it to pieces with his flamboyant showmanship. Decked out in a huge 80’s hair-metal wig, braces and the ubiquitous tight pants; Dr Todd had metamorphosed from mild-mannered chiropractor to sex-crazed rock n’ roll demigod. “We built, We built this City!!” he belted out, arms launching & flailing into the air, he spun around & rocked a little white man booty-dancing, he dropped to his knees, he leapt back up & did a jump kick, he sung until his lungs bled & his spine blew out his back. In short, he made damn sure that any man that followed Dr Todd Keenan would have to work hard for those sweet, sweet Mancathlon Points because he had just set the new standard for on-stage commitment. He whipped the crowd into a frenzy with his vocal & physical stylings; women were throwing panties, men were hurling chairs, and up on the bar shelves, bottles of flaming dog juice were exploding from the cataclysmic force of Todd’s performance. After such an ass-shattering recital this early in the piece, the big questions on everybody’s minds were could this shit possibly be topped? And who the f*ck was Marconi and why was he playing the Mamba?
Average Rating: 7.23 (2 Mancathlon Points earned)
3. Jason Gregg – “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley
Jason Gregg, the big Canadian who had travelled halfway across the world just to take on The Mancathlon was feeling good. With a point on the board from the Creation of Fire he had a little distance from the loser’s trophy, his Elvis outfit was snug & shiny and his fake pompadour was rising proudly; plus he’d been practicing in the shower all week. He had practiced a number of things in the shower that week but one of them was singing “Suspicious Minds” and it was this activity that would bear the most fruit in this night’s contest. Prior to the comp he’d had a Fool’s Gold Loaf & 2 bottles of Dom Perignon choppered in to the roof of the bar & consumed them while receiving a deep tissue massage to ensure that the nutrients would enter every pore of this body. Now up on stage with the jangling chords of the intro ringing out from the speakers he began to move his hips a little, he started to shake & grind as he channeled the King of Rock N Roll. And then he erupted into song, his rich baritone voice filling the room. Soon the man was in full flight, sweat pouring from his forehead in sheets, arms rotating, hips gyrating, in fact the whole shebang was gyrating as Jason whipped out everything he had and gave it to the audience. And still they wanted more! Finally with the thunderous applause ringing in his ears, Jason stepped from the stage & collapsed onto a the satin sheets of a heart shaped bed with two midgets, a bottle of tequila and a peanut butter sandwich.
Average Rating: 6.76
4. Brydon Price – “I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction)” by The Rolling Stones
Mr Price had mounted one hell of a campaign in 2008. After a devastating loss in ’07 he had rebuilt his entire body piece by piece, quitting the durries, hitting the gym, sexual yoga, wind tunnel training, the whole nine yards. His newfound physical vigour & commitment had paid big dividends and saw him coming into the final event in 4th place, a thousand miles away from any danger of the loser’s trophy. There was no just way this man was gonna turn down any challenge though & despite being tone deaf in both ears, his mouth and his left leg, he was damn sure going to get up on that stage & pour his heart out. Casually attired but wearing a wry smile, Price climbed atop the lofty stage, flicked on the mike and launched into what can only be described as not the definitive version of “I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction)”. His easy going manner & understated demeanor were not ideal for the rigors of Mancathlon Karaoke and his performance was later likened to Mick Jagger, on valium, in a swimming pool, of custard. A highly admirable performance for a Mancathlete clearly well outside his comfort zone but not enough to earn the hearts & minds of this discerning crowd…
Average Rating: 3.96
5. Gareth Ballard – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” by Kiss
Gary Ballard comes from Marton. In Marton they do not wear dresses, tight pants, sing songs or cavort on stage. They look after farms and they’re good bastards and they enjoy a beer after a hard day’s work. So this event was not an easy one for this competitor but when the stakes are this high a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. The stakes in question were the I Lost The Mancathlon ’08 Trophy which Gary was in serious danger of inheriting…the dark reflection of Big Chiefdom, the shameful secret of the Mighty Mancathlon. He’d got off to a good start costume wise, the audience appreciated any man willing to force his body into a tight lycra embrace and adorn his face in the sexual war paint of Gene Simmons. He’d been downing beer after delicious, ice-cold beer throughout the afternoon as part of his Dutch preparation but now it was time to sing for his supper, to appeal to the gathered audience with the only two weapons in his arsenal – his voice and his moves. Like many Mancathletes he started a little slow, working his way through nerves & cold windpipes but once that chorus hit he started going for the gusto, pulling out some huge high notes as facilitated by the tight lycra pants. He was belting that shit out, throwing it all on the line. And when he started drunkenly disentangling himself from his shirt it caused the crowd of female admirers to start screaming in rapture; hurling underwear, birth control pills and bottles of Asti Spumante onto the stage. Determined to avoid the loser’s trophy Gareth was just about to whip out his balls and wave em around like Jim Morrison when the song mercifully ended…
Average Rating: 6.65
6. Josh Short – “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers
Much to his chagrin Josh Short had been forced to miss the Grand Finale in 07 when he had to dump a couple of hooker’s bodies for Justin Timberlake. Now in ’08 he was 100% good to go baby, ready to unleash his good vibrations en masse to an unsuspecting world. He started slow, but once he warmed up it was a beautiful thing! He threw his tex-mexican ensemble around the stage with giddy abandon, channeling Brandon Flowers to huge success. The dude was into it, he was totally amped and the audience could taste the taste the electricity. “I got soul but I’m not a soldier” came the echo. He hit those notes with a velvet hammer and the audience responded to his passionate performance as he came off stage to rapturous applause & spontaneous man hugs all round. Shorty! Shorty!
Average Rating: 7.05 (1 Mancathlon Point earned)
7. Rodney MacFarlane – “All Night Long (All Night)” by Lionel Ritchie
Rodney MacFarlane. Smooth. Loverman. Sexual Moustache. White Chocolate. Yes, on Saturday 15th November in the year 2008 he came to encapsulate all these words and more. Number one big sexy with a bullet. He was the perfect understated Commodores frontman with a moustache whose sheer perfection could only be acheived with a black vivid, a steady right hand and a mirror. Let’s be honest, he hadn’t had a huge Mancathlon season. But with a ten-pound snake and half a million in the bank Rodders had nothing to prove, he was there just to rock out to some sweet soul music and that’s exactly what he did. The man didn’t move around a whole lot he just sang with a beautiful melody, a winning smile and let his vocals do the talking. The audience lapped it up, singing along, waving their hands, cheering & shouting for this smooth soul brother. How long could Rodder’s keep up this vocal perfection? All Night Long…
Average Rating: 7.36 (4 Mancathlon Points earned)
8. Duncan Reynolds – “Desire” by U2
Who could forget the massive “Working Class Man” of Karaoke 2007? Coming out of nowhere to UTTERLY DEVASTATE all other competitors in the previous year’s competition, Duncan had thrown up some serious expectations for the West Coast’s Finest Son. After a huge success in Enormous By Easter he had derailed his true Champagne Campaign in 2008 by boneassing his foot through all that newfound physical exertion. He’d locked in “Blaze of Glory”, the thunderous Bon Jovi standard as his last ditch effort to avoid a Mancathlon loss but when he found out it was gonna be a Jovi back-to-back he volunteered for a switch to Bono’s bombastic ’88 hit and f*ck if he wasn’t going to give it everything he had. Sadly, despite a huge stage presence, a strong cadre of female support and a freshly waxed belly Dunc was just not able to recreate that which was unrecreatable. The first of the evening’s competitors to suffer from random & debilitating microphone issues, Duncan was inextricably handicapped by the bad mic and wasn’t able to let his true genius flow like it needed to flow; straight from his heart to the audience. No one can deny that D.R. is Greymouth’s finest musical export but despite guts, glory, leather pants & innate vocal ability this was not destined be his finest hour…
Average Rating: 6.47
9. Gavin Marshall – “Wanted: Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi
Gavin Marsall had had himself a pretty good inaugural Mancathlon. His strong jaw & physical approach had seen him amassing a solid 10 points of pure Masculinity throughout the comp, but Gav was not the kind of soldier to rest on his laurels. He was the kind of soldier to rock up on stage in a tight cowboy outfit, fake hairdo & in a high-pitched scream declare himself Wanted: Dead or Alive! For all those who thought Gav wouldn’t have the chops to rock out on an 80’s monster hit it was a sharp wake up call. The man was surprisingly awesome, and even when the exact notes eluded him the spirit and passion did not. He was a cowboy, and on a steel horse he rode. It was clear that he had been practicing because like many singers that night he was not beholden to the monitor to spoon fed him the lyrics, he had that shit down cold. He sang with conviction and by the end of his track you truly believed that he’d seen a million faces and he’d rocked them all! ‘Cos he’d rocked at least 3 faces that week and would probably rock at least 2 more that night…
Average Rating: 6.97
10. Leighton Agnew – “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones
With so much drama in the L.B.C. it’s kind of hard being Leight D O double G. Well ain’t that the damn truth. Here’s a man who put it all on the line in his quest for greatness in The Mancathlon 2008, physically, mentally and sexually. Now with the final at his fingertips he was utterly exhausted; his precious bodily fluids drained, his Masculinity utterly desiccated by his monstrously passionate drive for Big Chiefdom. It took a gargantuan effort to wrestle the Trophy off the imcumbent Stu Beef, and now with 23 Mancathlon Points on the board, Leighton’s body was finally cracking under the strain. Nevertheless this awesome competitor had managed to secure a superior bowl cut, pour himself into some borrowed ladies’ jeans and gear up to rock out on some mid-60’s Rolling Stones savagery. There was no doubt that the man had some moves, he strutted, he pouted, he chicken-danced. But with a head-cold burning up his sinuses he just didn’t have it in the sing-song department. He was the 2nd Jagger in the night’s triumvirate of Stone’s Rollers and while he took the audience on a sweet little journey it just wasn’t enough to shake them all night long. That would have to wait until the next competitor.
Average Rating: 4.84
11. Stuart Brooke – “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC
Stu “Beef” Brooke. The Big Chief for a full 2 years running had already left an incredible legacy in The Mancathlon. This ultracompetitive sumbitch was known for his late-season runs in which he threw his incredible physicality & resolution headlong into the World’s Mightiest Contest. His previous Ka-ra-o-ke entries, “Roxanne” by The Police and “Rain” by Dragon had been characterized by his sheer unyielding dedication to a single note expelled loudly and with massive, massive commitment. This year was no exception but the difference was he chose the exact perfect song for his roustabout style, the best bogan love song ever…”You Shook Me All Night Long” by Acca Dacca. Oh yeaaahhh!! Launching into the hard-rockin’ Aussie classic with typical abandon, Stu Beef stalked around the stage like a bogan possessed, roaring out the verse & chorus like he had gravel in his lungs, not settling for anything less than 11 on the dial at any stage ever! The crowd responded in kind, chanting along to the chorus with incredible fervour, carrying Stu on a wave on enthusiasm to a massive 5-Point Win in this truly Marquee Event.
Average Rating:  7.56 (5 Mancathlon Points earned)
12. AJ Sutton – “Wild Thing” by The Troggs
Having endured two losses in two consecutive Mancathlon Karaoke years, AJ Sutton was out to prove a point. AJ knew he had the showmanship, the creativity, the flamboyance to rock the party the way it needed to be rocked. He just had to find the right song. Having initially tapped the soaring “Eye of the Tiger” for his ’08 Anthem, he changed his mind at the last minute to the Trogg’s ’66 hit “Wild Thing” with it’s large, effusive chorus and singalong verses. It still had potential to go horribly wrong and to descend into a toneless morass but Sutton was not gonna let that happen! Bedecked in faux chainmail shirt, fur shoulders and spray on jeans, AJ threw his vocal cords into the song, singing with gay abandon. Truly the Most Improved Player by a long shot; AJ told the story with passion, with a dynamic narrative and with sheer vocal commitment. As the song reached a rousing climax so did his many female fans, throwing their heads back in pure, wanton release as L.L. Sutton coaxed them to ever higher plateaus of sensual release. Boo-yakka sha!!
Average Rating: 5.32
13. Simon Judkins – “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
Judkins arrived at the venue looking dapper in a James Bond tuxedo. He left with his ass bruised from the rough ministrations of a dozen drunken hussies. What happened in between? Twas a clandestine strategy enacted by this master of the big gay surprise that involved hiding an incredibly flamboyant & sequined cocktail dress and foot-high, pink beehive wig under the Karaoke stage ready to be unleashed on an unsuspecting audience. Simon had been wracked by indecision in the leadup to the Karaoke, living in the engorged shadow of his previous year’s performance as the “sweet transvestite” Dr Frank N. Furter. After missing out on both “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” & “White Wedding” he decided that it was time to suit up once more for a little cross-dressing action, he pretended to be disappointed about this, for a second. As he emerged from the bathroom after “taping it down”, he strode confidently to the stage atop 6-inch heels cutting a swath through the crowd to the tune of wolf-whistles & cat-calls, he grabbed the mic and launched into it. “At first I was afraid I was petrified, I never thought that I could live without you by my side”. He sung with trademark panache but something was going horribly wrong, it wasn’t the tape coming undone, it was the microphone – it was cutting in and out, the levels were wrong, something, you couldn’t hear the man! He was visibly frustrated but like a true professional he kept shaking his groove thing and working the crowd. Look out for “It’s Raining Men” in ’09.
Average Rating:  5.67
14. Conrad Blight – “Miss You” by The Rolling Stones
Rico was good to go man. He had that 80’s look that he loved so well, he’d polished his forehead up, he had all the lyrics memorized, and he had the slow, sexy blues of the Rolling Stones ready to ooze out from the powerful P.A. system. But as the song kicked off he just seemed a little nervous, a little tentative, he wasn’t throwing himself into it like he needed to if he was gonna rock out with the big guns amidst this heady competition. Then came the inflection point, he hit a couple of huge notes a third of the way through, relaxed into it and proceeded to explode all over the audience with his unique brand of showmanship and funky white man dancing. He tore off his jacket and strutted around the stage, never once looking back at the monitor, he sung, he roared, he yelped and boogied, he made sweet love to the stage, he got the crowd singing along. A perennial crowdpleaser Mr Blight, and he did not disappoint in ’08.
Average Rating:  7.25 (3 Mancathlon Points earned)
15. Dr Kirk Stevens – “White Wedding” by Billy Idol
Part of the new breed of Doctoral Mancathletes who had come in and shaken up The Majestic Contest with their singular dedication, Dr Kirk was not afraid of a challenge. That said, Stevens was clearly outside his comfort zone in this one but like so many times this year the man punched well above his weight, or height as the case may be. Clad in leather, with silver painted hair and a chromed out jesus piece, Kirk was not only looking the part but once the chiming guitars of this 80’s rock classic kicked in he started singing it loud and bringing the sexual thunder with furious abandon. He had his sneer down, he had his fist pump going strong, he stalked around stage commanding attention at all times, striking poses, getting low and bringing it back up for the big notes, roaring and howling his way to a savage climax “It’s a nice day to staaarrtt aggaaaaaiiinn!!!”. More Idol than Idol!
Average Rating:  6.88
16. Thomas Rowe – “Faith” by George Michael
Discovered nervously hanging out in the men’s toilets prior to the event, Thom Rowe was getting in character. The 7 foot tall builder had busted out his best stonewash jeans for the evening and ripped holes in the knees (George Michael recommends knee pads), got himself a sweet leather jacket, shades and a crucifix earring and now it was time to show the audience exactly what he was made of. His stage persona was bang on – he rocked it hard, shaking & baking, moving & grooving, the big man was unstoppable on the dancefloor. He was only let down by his somewhat tuneless performance but that can be attributed to repeated ear infections from his many years of synchronized swimming. A huge end to a huge performance in The Mancathlon ’08 that would see him tie for 2nd place overall in his inaugural season, next stop…Big Chief ’09?
Average Rating:  5.09
17. Simon Watson – “Mr Brightside” by The Killers
Walking in the shadow of Josh’s huge rendition of the earlier Killers track was a tough ask for this nuggety contender. But Watson put on a brave & soulful performance for the energized crowd and they loved him for it. Ringing out the competition in style, Reg was looking smooth as a silkworm in a satin sheet and threw everything he had into the task at hand. As the final chords soared from the speakers and Reg took a bow before the audience, they erupted in a massive round of applause that seemed as though it would never end…
Average Rating:  5.41
And just like that it was over.
The officials collected the voting forms & retired to a dark corner of the bar with half a dozen iphones & some cold beers to work through the huge stack of voting forms, crunching numbers and clutching their heads in pain as they tried to statistically balance the late arrivals. The Mancathletes relaxed, their ordeal over, and set about clinking a few glasses together & reminiscing about a hugely entertaining season, a true step up for The Manacthlon once again. Then Rico jumped back on the mic and it was time for the Prizegiving – in which legends are made, efforts commended & for one man, dreams shattered. First up it was congratulations to the winners of the evening’s comp, especially Brooke and MacFarlane who had truly blown away the competition with their Balls Out Rock and Smooth Soul Funk respectively. Next up, the Little Trophy, the I Lost the Mancathlon ’08 Trophy which goes to the man who just couldn’t drag himself off the bottom of the points table in a highly competitive season, Gareth came up to receive the tiny cup with appropriate stoicism, vowing revenge in 2009. Then the Spirit of The Mancathlon – for the man who best embodied the finer aspects of the contest throughout the season, this year it was Blight who would be voted the honour by a jury of his peers for his behind the scenes service to competition. And finally the big one, the one the world was waiting for – as the new Big Chief 2008 Leighton Agnew stepped up on stage to receive Sport’s Entertainment’s Richest Prize, the Mighty Mancathlon Trophy. After a massive effort that saw him dominant in Orienteering, Assault Course, Creation of Fire, Truck Pull and Beer Brewing, he had ended the season a full 7 Mancathlon points ahead of his nearest competitors. He held the cup high above his head in victory, Shannah came running up on stage & jumped into Leighton’s arms, they embraced, the Big Chief & his woman both wearing womens’ jeans at the end of an incredible 3rd season of The Mancathlon with the applause ringing in their ears. That’s what it’s all about!!
Meanwhile however, Garyland had become a violent & troubled place. Something was tearing at Gary’s insides, a terrible suspicion that justice had not been served & that the tiny trophy was not his due after such a righteous last-ditch performance. He took the loser’s trophy out into the alleyway & smashed it with a brick, he howled at the moon in animal pain & frustration. Storming back inside he mounted a furious appeal with the Mancathlon Events Committee. A gross error had occurred during the Awards Ceremony, Ballard was in fact not alone at the bottom of the points table but was joined by fellow Mancathlete Duncan Reynolds who been unable to replicate his massive success of the previous year’s final. The big question now, what kind of Lose-Off be could be rapidly convened to resolve this case? A rap battle to “Shook Ones Part 2”? An interpretive dance hoedown? A boat race with pint glasses of tequila? After some heated debate it was elected that the man with the lowest Karaoke score would be this year’s unfortunate underachiever so we went back to the score sheet to let the people decide. And so it was that Duncan Reynolds, by a mere 0.18 rating lost out to Gary’s topless onslaught in the evening’s comp and thusly was awarded the I Lost The Mancathlon ’08 Trophy…well in theory anyway, Gareth had drunkenly lost the trophy somewhere in the bar.
Thank you’s go to Paul Orion & A’isha Bar for their hosting with the mosting. Thanks to Big Dan B for stepping up to the plate as Emergency M.C. in his inimitable stylee. A big ol’ thank you to Guy T. for his sweet work on event photography & on the fantastic Mancathlon website. A hugemongous thank you to Staines for his photographic skills & commitment throughout the season, he is a truly integral member of the Mancathlon family & a good sumbitch to boot. Thanks go to all the good people who came along to the Grand Finale and partied, voted, laughed at us & with us – you made it the legendary event it was.
Ladies & Gentlemen, The Mancathlon 2009 beckons, watch this space…
Leighton “The Big Chief” Agnew (23)
Stuart Brooke (16)
Thomas Rowe (16)
Conrad Blight (14)
Simon Judkins (13)
Brydon Price (11.5)
Jared Trail (11)
Gavin Marshall (10)
Phillip Guthrie (10)
Dr Todd Keenan (8)
AJ Sutton (8)
Dr Kirk Stevens (8)
Rodney MacFarlane (7)
Josh Short (5)
Simon Watson (2.5)
Shane Munro (1)
Jason Gregg (1)
Gareth Ballard (0)
Duncan Reynolds (0)
The following Mancathletes were absent from Event Ten:
Phillip Guthrie & Jared Trail


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