Damian Raven wins First Mr. Earth USA

(L-R) 1st runner-up Mike Wade, winner Damian Raven, and 2nd runner-up M. Christopher Lee.

Winner of First Mr. Earth USA 2007 Damian Coofek Raven (shown here with son) after pulling his mighty sword.

Judges include John Sarno, Keith Lewis, Sonya Eddy, Nautica de la Cruz, and Bradford Adkins.

Winner of First Mr. Earth USA 2007 Damian Raven (center) with his court, 1st runner-up Mike Wade and 2nd runner-up M. Christopher Lee, with judges (L-R) Bradford Adkins, Nautica de la Cruz, Sonya Eddy, John Sarno, and Keith Lewis (not in picture).

Photo and text by Oliver Carnay

Like Wart (future King Arthur) pulling the sword on the stone, 33 year-old Damian Coofek Raven, raised the heavy metal sword and rightfully was crowned the First Mr. Earth USA 2007 during a red carpet event, hosted by Marianne Fritz and Glenn Paigemont. The event was held at the Celebrity Centre International on Franklin Ave. and Bronson.

The concept originated from Raja Cruz, Fil-Am producer and President of Third League Organization, added the idea upon reading T.H. White’s novel Sword of the Stone, published in 1938. The proverb read, “Who so Pulleth Out This Sword of this Stone and Anvil, is Rightwise King Born of All England.” Seeking the best to represent Mr. Earth USA, and the deserving winner, “I wanted to show the person who gets to pull the Sword from the Stone, is the right wise to be the King of the Earth, and will be known as the first Mr. Earth USA,” he said.

Mr. Earth USA is a male pageant where contestants are being judge for personality, talent, uniqueness, and masculinity. Mr. Earth USA 2007 male pageant's mission is not only to find the best that represents the title but also to find a diverse individual who have discipline, signifies his own cultural values and who can understand differences in life's diverse nature.

The panel of Hollywood celebrity judges include Sonya Eddy (a regular from the highly watched ABC 7’s soap General Hospital as well as its new primetime spin-off GH:Nightshift on Soapnet); Nautica de la Cruz (host of The Steve Harvey Show - 93.5 KDay); John Sarno (tv host, acting coach, a former Golden Globe nominee, and an actor who was last seen in “Zodiac);” Keith Lewis (Executive Director of Miss California Teen USA®/Miss California USA® and owner of The Morgan Talent Agency); and Bradford Adkins (owner of Adkins Realty).

Raven, who also won the Best in Talent, is a veteran actor who is shooting a film entitled “The Cash Collectors” from Nevada Films. He is currently being seen in a major role on Here TV series “DL Chronicles.”

Raven won the judges nods when he told about reading a thought provoking Times cover page story and the youth’s importance of having a good education. His son proudly came up the stage and stood beside him after the winners’ announcement.

“I entered the contest when I saw the breakdown which says one who represents the earth of masculinity and confidence of a real man. At 17, I was a single father, and still am. I raised my son who is now 16 years old. I want to show him that whatever you put in your mind, you can definitely do it if you believe in yourself,” he said to this writer during the preliminary press meeting with the candidates held at Musikahan

24 year-old Michael Wade capped several awards including 1st runner-up, Best in Casual Wear, Most Popular, and Best in Beach Wear. Most Photogenic went to Korken Alexander while Best in Sports Wear was won by Martin Chan. Ronnie Castro won the Most Popular during the Preliminary. 23 year-old M. Christopher Lee, a former Marine and a veteran who served in the Iraqi War won 2nd runner-up and Best in Formal Wear. More pics from this event can be browsed at Photo Gallery.