Men in mesh stockings. A guy wrestling his dog. Carmen Miranda reincarnated. As host of this year’s Miz Old Biz contest, Beverly Quick has her work cut out for her.
"I will try to keep it in good taste, but it does tend to get bawdy," says Quick, who is known around town as Bobo.
Contestants in the Miz Old Biz contest, a beauty pageant parody, show up in outlandish costumes and answer one question: Why Bisbee should love me. The contest is a traditional part of the Brewery Gulch Daze celebration, which will take place Sunday in Bisbee.
Last year Barbara Johnson broke the male winning streak. She shared the top prize with a guy known around town as Danny (most people in Bisbee go by only one name — the 2003 winner is known only as Open Shirt Ken). The judges choose the winner based on audience applause.
"It was very unusual for me as a woman to win," says Johnson, owner of Mimosa Market. "Because it’s mostly won by gay guys in drag."
Johnson won the contest by singing a song she learned at the age of 3 called "At the Bar." She added a few verses about life in Bisbee and threw bubble gum cigars and nickels to the crowd. Mooning the crowd clinched her victory. She bent over and revealed a pair of bloomers emblazoned with a B in the center of a heart.
"I don’t have a whole lot of talent, but I do have enthusiasm," says Johnson, who regularly makes appearances as Miz Old Biz and is looking forward to relinquishing her title.
Although Quick hasn’t competed in the contest, she has coached many Bisbee residents to victory.
"Not to sound terribly metaphysical, but it takes a belief in yourself," says Quick with theatrical flare. "You have to completely give up your ego and give yourself up to the character."
The Miz Old Biz contest invokes the tawdry spirit of Brewery Gulch, once home to more than 20 bars and brothels. But there are plenty of activities for the whole family. Festivities will include a pancake breakfast, pet parade, chili cookoff, waterball tournament, recycled art show, carnival games and an obstacle course. The Miz Old Biz contest will begin at 3:30 p.m., but that day everything will run on Brewery Gulch time, so expect a few delays.
Brewery Gulch Daze
What: Daylong carnival celebrating the spirit of Brewery Gulch in Bisbee
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Brewery Gulch
Information: (520) 432-3554, (866) 224-7233 or www.discoverbis bee.com