By Jackie Stone
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE – Supporters and those who just came to see the show stuffed money by the handful Saturday night into stylish purses with sparkles and metal clasps that dangled from hairy arms at the annual Womanless Fashion Show.
By the time a queen was crowned at the Copperas Cove Civic Center, the bevy of unusually masculine models in dresses and gowns had raised about $3,500 in donations. That money, along with funds from ticket sales and other donations that will trickle in afterward, will go entirely to the Children's Advocacy Center of Central Texas.
The center is a nonprofit organization that works with entities such as Child Protective Services and law enforcement in Bell and Coryell counties to advocate for child victims of abuse.
Several community leaders donned wigs, stockings and rather large high heels and dresses to show their support.
Councilman Willie Goode – stage name, Ruby LaRue – pulled on a red dress and wig in order to raise the funds, along with two of his fellow councilmen: Danny Palmer, also known as the bearded lady, and Chuck Downard dressed as Ms. Abby from "NCIS."
Each of the 12 men who worked the crowd carried a purse to solicit donations, in addition to the money raised from ticket sales and the silent auction. At the end of the night, the models upended their purses, and the queen of the evening was selected based on the amount of money raised.
Bonnie Wilson, whose husband, Bill, strutted around the room in a bright blue gown, said as a CPS officer, she sees the impact the money has whenever she brings a child to the center.
One of the services the money supports is the rainbow room at the center, a place Wilson said she can get gifts, clothing and basic needs for any child victim of abuse who needs it.
The Children's Advocacy Center of Central Texas serves as a neutral site for law enforcement, advocates, civil servants and non-offending family members who are involved in the aftermath of a child abuse case.
Carol Rogers, a member and past president of the advocacy center's board, organizes the event each year, along with Copperas Cove police Detective Lori Hix, Kim Walker from the Fort Hood Unit CPS and Copperas Cove resident Doris Gilray.
As the evening wound down, Copperas Cove High School Principal Rick Kirkpatrick was among the last three men standing waiting to find out who would be crowned queen.
Kirkpatrick said it was hard finding a dress for his 6-feet, 5-inch frame. Another CCISD principal, Mary Derrick of Hettie Halstead Elementary School, had talked him into modeling for the event.
"It's a good cause," he said. "Swallow your pride and do it for charity."
Contact Jackie Stone at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcoveeditor.