Mr. Trailblazer 2023 also crowned as Mr. Congeniality

Contestants pose together after crowing Sam New as Mr. Trailblazer 2023. Lindsey Cozad | Sun News Daily

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Eleven men took the stage Feb. 8. to compete for the title of Mr. Trailblazer.

Contestant No. 11, Sam New, a junior individualized studies major from Leeds, took the crown home for Mr. Trailblazer 2023.

The contestants were judged in four categories: on-stage question, resume platform, evening wear and talent. New not only took home the crown, but he also won a sash and a cash prize of $500. New was also awarded Mr. Congeniality, which was chosen by the other contestants for his spirit and friendliness during rehearsals.

New said he was encouraged by his friends to compete for Mr. Trailblazer.

“I was at the UTSA karaoke night running the soda bar with Jose and my friend Holly, and they told me to do Mr. Trailblazer,” New said. “They told me it’s super easy and doesn’t take as much time as I thought. It was a new experience because I have never done a pageant before.”

The pageant started with the emcees Anna Barfuss, the current D-Queen, and Jose Toral, 2022 Mr. Trailblazer. The panel of judges were also shown and later took the stage to introduce themselves. The theme of this year’s Mr. Trailblazer competition was “Men in Uniform.” The Mr. Trailblazer contestants were first seen in an opening dance number.

The men took the stage one at a time to present a talent for 90 seconds. New sang and played guitar at the same time to the song “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson. Half way through his performance, New’s friend, Joseph Avila, put a trumpet in front of his lips, so Sam played this instrument as well. 

New said: “My inspiration for the talent was from this viral video of this guy who plays five trombones at the same time while having someone else put an instrument in front of his face and play it as well. I thought that was a really cool idea. I heard ‘The Way I Am’ by Ingrid Michaelson on Spotify a little bit after and thought this could have a cool instrumental solo.”

The Mr. Trailblazer 2023 competition concluded with an evening wear walk from the men and them being escorted by someone of their choice. New was escorted by Holly Hurtado and she also answered a question about why New would make a great Mr. Trailblazer. The contestants re-entered the stage after all the men walked. They huddled together to eagerly hear who won Mr. Trailblazer.

New said he is excited to wear his crown proudly as the new Mr. Trailblazer.

“When I won Mr. Trailblazer, I already felt accomplished,” New said. “Being there, performing, the ability to work with everybody competing and coming together as a group of guys was the real win for me.”