Bunch of 'foolies'

Verdict won’t be pretty as judges encourage bribes

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By Lance Coleman
Senior reporter
Blount Today

Seven "judges" in Blount County will be holding court at Maryville College March 31. While they won’t strike fear in the hearts of men or women, they’ll take plenty of bribes.

The judges will preside over the April Foolies at 6 p.m. on March 31 at the Maryville College Wilson Chapel. The judges include:

  • State Rep. Doug Overbey
  • "Supreme Fire Chief Justice" Ed Mitchell
  • Tom Taylor
  • Joy "Eagle Eye" Bishop
  • Rick "Picky Ricky" Shepard
  • Mark "MC Hammer" Cate
  • Joe "Simon Cowell" Huff.

The judges for the March 31 event said they would consider talent, the amount of money raised and crowd response when judging which acts are best.

"What do I look for is how the crowd responds," Huff said. "You’ve got to look at talent. Some are serious, and some are funny."

Bishop was quick to point out what will sway her vote. "I’ll be looking for the money," she said, referring to the fact that each act will have a bucket where the audience can show their support by donating. "People have the opportunity to put their money where their applause is."

Overbey said he is looking for outrageousness, talent beyond American Idol and ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound. "Money talks," he said regarding what could sway his vote in the talent show.

Mitchell said he will look for originality. "The act that has the most originality and, of course, it’s always nice to see some talent. We just want to make sure that no one takes themselves too seriously," he said.

Taylor said he was modeling his persona after the Old Testament judge Samson. "I’m going to wear a Samson muscle suit under my robe," he said.

Taylor was straightforward about what he expects in an April Foolies winner. "I’m looking for shock appeal and bribery, which is what every politician is looking for," he said.

Shepard said that while everyone is having a fun time, there is a serious side to the competition. "We take it seriously to a degree. We take talent seriously because they take the time to put their acts together," he said.

Cate said fans of the different acts need to show their support by putting cash in their act’s container. "As far as I’m concerned, the winner will be the person who bribes the judges to the greatest level," he said. "The bottom line is: How
good are their bribes?"

For the March 31 event, the following acts are scheduled:

  • Buford’s Atomic Outhouse sponsored by Southland Books
  • Dave Bennett and Scott Graves sponsored by American Fidelity Bank
  • Mike White and Ralph Goodson, sponsored Hayes Pipe Supply
  • Jerry at the Piano, sponsored by Alterra Sterling House
  • M.C. Steppers, sponsored by Personal Care Choices
  • Cans of Ham, sponsored by Westside Psychology
  • Mike Everett, sponsored by the $10 Club
  • Dan "Dan Dangerfield" Thurman doing a Rodney Dangerfield impersonation.

On March 22, a warm up for the event was scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. at Sullivan’s Downtown. Pistol Creek Catch of the Day is set to perform and Sammy Sawyer as Barney Fife will entertain the crowd as well, United Way associate of community impact and Success by 6 coordinator Jessica Wallace said.

"We’ll be there with his squad car, and we’ll be selling tickets and having a good time listening to music," Wallace said.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for students and seniors, Tickets can be purchased at Sullivans Downtown, at the door the day of the event, at United Way offices, at Southland Books, at Capital Coffee and Blount Today or from any of the acts.

April Foolies supports three programs that help children in Blount County Success by Six, New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center and Helen Ross McNabb Child Net.

"I’m just encouraging people to come. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re really excited about the acts. It’s a great way to support some really important children’s agencies in this county," Wallace said.

Success by Six is an early child hood initiative through United Way of Blount County. "Our mission is to ensure that all children ages 0 to 6 are physically, mentally, socially and emotionally prepared for lifelong learning and success by the time they enter school," she said.

New Hope is an advocacy center for children who have experienced physical or sexual abuse. They provide advocacy, protective services, therapy, examinations and support for families who have children who have been abused, Wallace said.

ChildNet provides services for children up to18 who are experiencing emotional or behavioral and/or health problems. They provide counseling, therapy, case management assistance and they also do mediation services for children.

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