Mr. Big Jacket 2017

The annual fundraiser for the Rockmart High School band saw Ethan Gober named Mr. Big Jacket 2017 and Jackson Norris as Jr. Mr. Big Jacket 2017. Cade Holder also was named the audience favorite for the night. (Sean Williams/Standard Journal)

Rockmart's second annual Mr. Big Jacket competition brought the school three new champions in the form of Mr. Big Jacket Ethan Gober, Jr. Mr. Big Jacket Jackson Norris, and audience choice winner Cade Holder.

While not everyone can take home a crown, the entertaining theatrics brought on by the 13 contestants filled the city's theatre and helped to raise money for the school band.

Mr. Big Jacket is a title obtainable only be seniors, Jr. Mr. Big Jacket is a title exclusive to underclassmen, and audience choice is decided by the contestant who raises the most money via $1 or more donations. Audience choice donations also went towards supporting the band.

Alli Streetman- 2017's Miss Yellow Jacket- guided the audience through the event beginning with the introduction of the contestants, continuing to the talent portion, presenting the contestants in formal wear, and interviewing the men before announcing the winners. Various details were shared about each competitor ranging from their most embarrassing moment to which animal they would most want to be, and each student got the opportunity to showcase what they're best at.

A special performance from singer and thespian Anna Snider served as entertainment while the judges tallied votes and decided 2017's Mr. Big Jacket.

Gober's performance seemed to catch audience and judge attention from the very start.

"At RHS, he is a member of the RHS marching band and RHS drama club," Streetman said as Gober took the stage. "Ethan’s future plans are to attend the University of North Georgia to get a degree in marketing and then pursue a culinary degree. If Ethan could be any animal in the world, he would be a dragon so he could spit fire. Contestant number 12, Mr. Ethan Gober."

For his talent portion, Gober performed a spoken word titled “Tell the World.” Gober's performance required him to powerfully and passionately recite the word's messages of faith in Christianity and disdain for those who speak down and disrespect the religion.

As last year's Jr. Mr. Big Jacket, Gober has now won both possible titles. His previous performance also featured a spoken word and genuine, lighthearted question responses.

Norris, still a junior, was capable only of winning the Jr. title, but the man's passionate talent portion and entertaining question responses quickly won the judge's favor.

"At RHS, he is a member of the marching band (where he serves as drum major this year), the academic team, National Honor Society, the varsity tennis team and FCA Leadership," Streetman said of Norris. "Jackson says his most embarrassing moment was accidentally flinging his mouthpiece at the JSU Night of Champions."

Norris played piano and sang an original piece about his love for Jesus. As a band member, the musician played piano and sang in his original performance from the first annual Big Jacket pageant.

"This song is important to me because I feel that through Jesus we can all become flawless," Norris said before singing.

Holder no doubt raised a large amount of money for the school band, and the entrant's wacky antics no doubt had a large part in winning the audience choice vote.

"At RHS, Cade is a member of the football team. If Cade’s life were a t-shirt message, it would say "live it up!" If he could choose any superpower, Cade would choose the ability to fly because gas prices are through the roof," Streetman said.

Holder's talent portion involved a collaborative effort between several other contestants that dance and sang along to "All the Single Ladies" while dressed as women. Holder could be seen dancing around in the back with a large wig and a dress while the other contestants did the same.

The Nov. 11 event is Holder's first time taking one of the three crowns at Mr. Big Jacket.

The full list of entrants include: Isaac Gober, Javin Whatley, Caleb Cason, Reed Couch, CJ Culver, Jackson Norris, Jean Garcia, Michael Gay, Ethan Gober, Cade Holder, and Riley Miller

Rockmart High School and Mr. Big Jacket would like to extend special thanks to judges Dennis Johnson, Sarah Smith, and Jeff Paiger. The event also wouldn't be possible without RHS principal Robyn Teems, host Alli Streetman, entertainer Anna Snider, Jonathan Earwood of Georgia Vinyl and Thread, organizer Dena Lumpkin, and the various backstage and lobby helpers, and the RHS band boosters who donated and bought tickets.

The RHS band is an award-winning program that involves over 130 students. Money raised will serve to take the band to bigger and better places.