By Daniel A. Kusner – Life+Style Editor

Dallas diva Kelexis Davenport busts out her baton for the Miss Gay USofA pageant

MISS major—ette: Kelexis Davenport knows that bigger can definitely mean better. – DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

For the next week, y’all don’t want to envy Kelexis Davenport. She’s one of Rose Room’s fiercest emcees, but her life is about to get even more intense. Davenport — and about 40 others — are competing in the Miss Gay USofA pageant, a national showcase of female impersonation that’s held in Dallas right before Memorial Day.

For now, Davenport’s call-it-like-it-is mouth must be harnessed. The competition is so bloodthirsty, she can’t reveal too many details about her gown or talent. She says her gown will rival the cost of a new car. And for her talent portion, she’s hired about two-dozen backup dancers who’ll emulate a high school drum-line that will provide the rhythm as Davenport breaks out a baton and twirls like majorette.

This year, Davenport is one to watch. At previous Miss Gay USofA pageants, she’s helped emcee. But the USofA pageantry system has different layers: "classic" is for contestants 35 years and older; "Mr." for men competing as men, "At large" is for contestants whose weight must be a minimum of 200 pounds.

When it comes to collecting tiaras, Davenport knows how to win. She’s a former Miss Gay USofA at Large and she’s the reigning Miss Texas FFI at Large and Miss Texas USofA.

The Miss Gay USofA is known as a "skinny girls pageant." And there’s no question that Davenport doesn’t fit that mold. But her large frame doesn’t slow her down: She’s a whirlwind of energy known to do coochie-slamming splits that make male audience members wince.

Preliminaries for Miss Gay USofA start on Tuesday at the Round-Up Saloon. Each night, groups of contestants rotate gown and talent portions. Final night will be held in the ballroom at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel (the former Adams Mark) — where the Miss Gay USofA 2008 will be crowned.

Preliminary nights: May 20-22 at the Round-Up Saloon, 3912 Cedar Springs Road. $12 per night. Evening gowns at 9 p.m., talent at 10 p.m. Contestant groups rotate each night.
Final Night: Friday, May 23 at 8 p.m. at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, 400 North Olive Street. Tickets $40-$75.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 16, 2008.

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