Chicago's Erik Sosa Prepares for Mr. Gay USA 2006

Fri. September 29, 2006 12:00 AM by

Palm Springs, CA - The U.S.A. Mr. Gay preliminary contests are over and now the judges will select the candidate who best represents America's "boy-next-door."

When he's chosen, he will then compete against "Mr. Gay" winners from Germany, Australia, Hungary, Philippines, Iran, Lebanon, Israel and the Vatican City (just to name a few of the 40 representatives) for the Grand Finale title of International Mr. Gay.

Both competitions happen in Palm Springs, Calif., Oct. 27-28, in the desert city's new Convention Center.

The event will be hosted by Bruce Vilanch, star of "Hollywood Squares" and "Hairspray," and co-writer for awards shows such as the Oscars, the Emmys and the Tonys.

"Mr. Gay" winners from twenty cities nationwide, including Chicago, will compete for the U.S.A. title on Friday, Oct. 27.

On Saturday, Oct. 28, the new U.S. Delegate will go against 20-plus international delegates from around the globe; heating up the desert valley faster than the summer sun! The winner will hold the worldwide title of International Mr. Gay 2007.

According to program organizers, the number of contestants has grown from twelve at last year's inaugural competition to over forty this year.

Chicago's Erik R. Sosa (pictured) was selected during preliminaries to represent the Windy City. Born in Mexico, Sosa is an American citizen and calls Chicago home. He was honored with Vox/Out’s Emerging Voices of Style+Design Award and remains on the frontline of the Chicago’s art scene. Sosa created the commemorative poster for the 2006 Chicago Gay Games.

Kevin Howard, producer of the Miss Texas Pageant for the past seven years, will produce the two stage shows, when delegates will be questioned by celebrity judges, including gossip columnist Billy Masters, Good Morning America's Steve Viscusi and Hollywood Diet co-founder Jamie Kabler.

"The International Competition for Mr. Gay has a mission of bringing together non-stereotypical gay from around our world to confront an often-times stereotypical bias in the mainstream press," said producer Don Spradlin, in a media release. "The competitive elements designed into the finals will allow judges to observe the character values and leadership talents of our contestants."

Both the national and the international competitions will follow an elimination round format, similar to reality TV shows.

One of last year's judges, director Dirk Shafer, pointed out, "Believe me, this is not going to be your sister's beauty pageant."

For more information, visit

Article provided in partnership with