Kenn Wilson was the lucky winner of the title of Mr Bear Queensland during last year’s Northern Exposure, the Brisbears group’s premier bear festival. He’ll travel to Melbourne in June to compete in the Mr Bear Australasia competition, held as part of Vic Bears’ Southern Hibearnation event.
Kenn said that he entered the competition to begin with as a personal growth exercise.
“Even though I’m a primary school teacher I do get very afraid of getting up in front of large crowds and doing things that are outside of my comfort zone,” he said.
“Doing the things that all the contestants had to do during all of the rounds of Mr Bear Queensland really broke down the barriers.
“Word quickly got around at the school where I teach that I had won Mr Bear Queensland and so I was asked to bring in the sash to show. I wore it to a staff meeting and even shocked a few people that I work with that are active members of the Christian Lobby group!”
The title isn’t without its perks: Kenn not only scores free drinks at Brisbears events now but he was also invited to join the Harbour City Bears float at this year’s Sydney Mardi Gras and was to Vic Bears’ 20th anniversary celebrations.
“To be on the Harbour City Bears float at Mardi Gras in front of nearly half a million people in the streets and several million television viewers it is an experience I will never forget,” he said.
“The atmosphere was electric and the support shown by all of the crowd is something that Australia needs and should be proud about.”
The next winner of Mr Bear Queensland will be announced at the Brisbears’ Northern Exposure 2016 event in late September. What advice does Kenn have for those thinking of participating?
“Just do it! It’s going to be nerve-wracking and daunting but it really does help with self confidence,” he said.
“All of the committee are there to support you and each of the contestants really do look out for each other. One thing you need to remember is don’t take it too seriously!”