On Saturday, the men of American Legion Post 14 will go to great lengths to help veterans who have fallen on hard times.
They and their friends will don wigs, shave their legs, apply the latest eyeliner technique and slip into something not-so-comfortable for a gender-bending comedy show at the American Legion Ambulance Hall.
The show, a comedy revue styled like a chaotic male beauty pageant, features about 25 men. The men typically model themselves after some kind of famous female celebrity or character, from Loretta Lynn to Little Red Riding Hood.
Smyrna's American Legion post has been holding the pageant every other year since 2007 and they try to make it bigger and better every year. For instance, 2011 saw the inclusion of a swimsuit competition and a "close shave" pre-event that brought all the men together for a night of hair-grooming.
"We had one guy who had sported a goatee for 28 years who helped us raise even more money by shaving it off that night," said one of the event organizers Faron Marshall. "I think he alone brought in $1,000 more than we expected."
The event is hyper-focused on raising as much money as possible, which all goes for the legion's Veterans Relief Fund. The fund was established to provide financial aid to military personnel, past and present, in times of crisis.
"We feel our government often does not respond in a timely fashion or sometimes not at all," said Marshall. "This fund allows us to step in and help in times of need without a lot of red tape or delays. It allows us to respond to a crisis as soon as we know about it."
Since 2007, Post 14 has raised more than $37,000 through a combination of events like the beauty pageant. The money has gone to all sorts of causes, from gas for fuel tanks, visits to and from loved ones and mortgage payments.
"In 2010, we purchased a handicap tricycle for a little boy with MS who needed the bike to assist in her physical therapy," said Marshall. "The insurance companies refused to pay for it but it cost in excess of $1,300. We stepped in and got the bike so he could keep his muscles as toned as possible."
It's anecdotes like the therapy bike that keep people participating.
"It's a lot of fun and we do nothing but laugh," said Marshall. "Don't get me wrong. It's humiliating and embarrassing. But, the cause takes the sting out of it and we all actually look forward to it."
The humiliation that Marshall mentions is also preserved for all posterity, too, with a DVD recording of the whole event. The DVD will also be available for sale at a later date, raising even more funds.
Page 2 of 2 - "We will have copies of the last competition for sale for $10 on Saturday," said Marshall. "This year's DVD should be ready in a couple of months and will sell for $20."
Mostly, Marshall just hopes that people will come out and support the event, promising a great time for everyone.
"The humor is adult so it's really recommended for people who are at least 21 years old," Marshall said. "But, I really encourage everyone to attend. You won't be disappointed. If you are, come find me and I'll refund the $20 admission. That's just not going to happen, though. You won't be able to quit laughing, I promise."