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Fraternity men give the shirts off their backs to support vets

Kappa Sigmas strut their stuff at the Marshall Student Center Oval Theater on Tuesday for the fraternity’s third annual bachelor auction. ORACLE PHOTO/SEBASTIAN CONTENTO

The auction kicked off with a choreographed dance reminiscent of the movie “Magic Mike.” With the Backstreet Boy’s iconic “I Want It That Way” playing in the background, five of Kappa Sigma’s most fearless brothers took to the stage to shed their shirts and tease the crowd into a frenzy. 

Torrey Taylor, a USF graduate, helped choreograph the dance routine.

“I’ve been involved since the first year,” Taylor said. “It’s a brilliant concept. Single college guys being auctioned off with date packages right before Valentine’s Day; it’s literally the recipe for success.”

Over 500 lavishly dressed ladies attended the third Annual Kappa Sigma Bachelor Auction last night at the Marshall Student Center’s Oval Theater. Proceeds from the event supported the Fisher House Foundation, which supports injured veterans and their families. The event raised $2,740. The highest and lowest bids were $275 and $20 respectively.

Kappa Sigma brothers Trent Mitchell and Vini De Lima hosted the event, which consisted of three waves of bachelors paired with date packages that ranged from a double date at Green Lemon for margaritas and dancing, to massages after skydiving and brunch. 

The self-proclaimed “Tina Fey and Amy Poehler of bachelor auctions” kept the mood light throughout the night, consistently working the crowd into rapturous glee.

“Would you rather buy a muffin or a studmuffin?” Mitchell said in reference to the typical philanthropy efforts practiced by many Greek life organizations.

The event was anything but typical, and with a crowd of girls pulled from USF, University of Tampa, and even Tinder, the bidding wars were fierce and frantic. 

Minutes before the event began, Kappa Sigma’s Facebook event page had an RSVP of 804 attendees, which transformed the floor level of the Oval Theater into a virtual sea of women.

Mitchell and De Lima introduced the first wave of bachelors. Each bachelor was accompanied by their own song selection as they flexed, danced and twerked across the stage to the delight of the packed Oval Theater.

As the bids raised, the clothes dropped. Each brother teased their physiques to cull higher bids out of the crowd. Some bachelors, like Sebastian Perez, simply had to twirl a finely groomed mustache for a $120 bid. Others, like Jody Louis, smiled bashfully and blushed, and still managing to lock down $50. 

Mitch Kogge stripped down to his underwear, and then a second pair of underwear beneath the first pair — anything to secure another $10 for the Fisher House.

Between rounds, the hosts raffled off gift baskets and explained the Fisher House’s initiatives to the crowd.

“The Fisher House’s main function is aiding wounded veterans that come back from war,” De Lima said. “They provide housing for the immediate family, free of cost.”

Forty percent of the Bachelor Auction’s proceeds go directly to the Fisher House, with the other 60 percent of proceeds benefiting Kappa Sigma’s upcoming 5K race.

The Bachelor Auction managed to combine the flavors of philanthropy and fraternity fun into a unified event.

“It’s shocking,” said Taylor Sarni, a sophomore majoring in engineering and member of Delta Gamma. “So many girls are willing to pay for a good cause and a good date. It’s really fun. The bidding goes back and forth like tennis matches.”

Sarni’s first year sorority sister, Marisa Bosso, said the Bachelor Auction was a completely different experience than what they are accustomed to in Greek life philanthropy.   

Shelby Petzoldt, a first year criminology major and Gamma Phi member, said she came for the entertainment and to avoid studying.

“I expected it to be funny,” Petzoldt said. “Plus, girls get to dress up for this, so we want to come.”

This year’s event was aided by its own marketing campaign, including a pair of teaser videos that showcased Kappa Sigma brothers mixing protein into their Mimosas, engaging in CrossFit workouts and emerging from the pool in Speedos to walk in slow motion toward the camera.

Building on last year’s event, the Kappa Sigma Bachelor Auction was more ambitious and touted higher production values than previous years, but with only half the participation of last year’s auction. The fundraiser fell short of last year’s $6,000 total.

Still, the stars of the shows were the brothers themselves, once they entered the limelight. Walking onto the stage in dress pants and a tie, only to leave shirtless with a girl in their arms is the type of fratty funny only found in college.