In little more than a month, the Amapas Junta Vecinal pulled off an amazing feat of organization, publicity and execution when it staged the first-ever “Pulpito Drag Derby” – a fun event for the entire community, attracting local families and children, as well as a crowd of ex-pat residents and visitors, many in town for the Vallarta Pride weekend. While the Drag Derby wasn’t officially part of Vallarta Pride, its carnival atmosphere, 9 contestants in high heels and a wide & wild variety of drag styles and outfits fit right in!

The Derby, which got underway about six o’clock, started and finished in view of the excited crowd gathered at the foot of the Pinnacle Stairs, where a big white tent and a mass of pink and white balloons marked the platform. Pulptito was spotless for the occasion, and an audio setup featuring multiple speakers provided music and clear amplification throughout.

The entire event was entertainingly M.C.’d in English and Spanish by Mexican celebrity television performer/entertainer Super Mana and local personality Juan Pablo Hernandez, who encouraged the crowd and accompanied the drag contestants’ competitive antics with equally colorful running commentary.

Contestants were judged on the basis of fastest time, Glamor, Appearance (hair, makeup and wardrobe) and Crowd Appeal.

The winners were announced at The Palm following the close and hotly contested race, with the top three places separated by a single point. When the dust – and the glitter – settled, First Prize and $5,000 pesos went to crowd favorite Catherinne; Second Prize and $1,500 pesos went to musically named Mari-Achi, and Third Prize and $1,000 pesos went to Angie Star. Each winner also received a handsome trophy plaque commemorating her victory.

Following the awards presentation before a packed and spirited crowd at The Palm, Super Mana performed with The Drag Kings. Then everybody headed down to Mantamar for the official opening of Vallarta Pride.

While organized by the Amapas Junta Vecinal under the leadership of local business owners Javier Jimenez and Morgan Granander, the Derby quickly attracted a dozen community-boosting Sponsors who provided financial backing. The Amapas Neighborhood Association contributed the $5,000 peso First Prize ‘purse’. Other Sponsors – The Swedes, Garbo, Coco’s Kitchen, Maia Restaurant, #116 Pulpito Gastro Bar, NU global tapas, Salud Super Food, Sama Martini Bar, “R” Salon, and Ron Morgan Properties and Tropicasa Realty –contributed $2,500 pesos each to launch the ‘first annual’ effort, with GayPV contributing design and photo-coverage, and The Palm donating the Super Mana Show venue.

PV Bomberos were present throughout, in case of a twisted ankle or a tumble down the stairs, and Transito patrolmen – with the help of seven ‘uniformed’ exotic dancers from Wet – controlled traffic and helped the contestants safely down the Pinnacle stairs and across streets.

Special thanks go to our Celebrity Judges Tim Longpre, Julie Guerrero, Christian Serrano, and Miss Beverly Fairfax and Miss Eartha Quake – both of whom looked faaaaabulous for the occasion, appropriate for judging Crowd Appeal and Appearance, respectively.

With the help of volunteers who sold drinks and T-shirts, and took bets on the race, funds totaling about $40,000 pesos were raised.

A dozen spectators placed winning bets, receiving up to three times the value of their bet in ‘Pulpito Pesos’ – good for food and drinks at the Sponsors’ bars and restaurants.

Drag Derby proceeds will purchase materials for new planters, street lights and other improvements planned for Pulpito Plaza, coordinated by the Amapas Junta Vecinal, in partnership with the City – Obras Publicas will be expediting permits and supporting the project with skilled labor.

(For more on the Amapas Junta Vecinal and Pulpito Plaza, CLICK here.)

The Derby has also helped ‘brand’ the intersection as “Pulpito Plaza” – a ‘gateway’ for the Amapas bar, restaurant and business area – and created a greater sense of community and local identity.

Viva la Fiesta! Let’s make this an annual event, and do it again next year!

(To see more Pulpito Drag Derby 2014 photos, CLICK here.)