25th Annual Possum Queen Contest
January 1, 2015 @ The Litchfield Inn

Possum Queen Contest a success in 25th year
Litchfield.bz (01-02-15)
Ian Campbell of Litchfield plays a tribute to the 25 years of the Possum Queen Contest
on New Year's Day at the Litchfield Inn. Below, two members of the
Zeller group that performed a retrospective skit. ~ BZ photos

It was another wacky - and profitable - start to the new year Thursday as the
Possum Queen Contest kicked off 2015 at the Litchfield Inn.

The 25th anniversary of the event was a rousing success as it raised
thousands of dollars for the Possum Queen Foundation, which
distributes proceedsto local families coping with major medical expenses.

As usual, the highlight of the contest was the skit portion that saw four acts perform.
There was the group led by Gary Zeller, the Murphy-Budny contingent,
 Team Goshen, and a group representing the Warner Theatre.

Murphy-Budny paid tribute to the Possum Queen's 25 years with a rousing performance
 led by Rey Budny, Lesley Budny, D.J. Murphy and singer-songwriter Ian Campbell,
who entertained the crowd of more than 400 with a musical medley.

Ian Campbell lyrics:
At the risk of exposing my lyrical performance flubs,
these are the intended lyrics, as written:
(to the song: FIRE)
Hawks hanging in this bar…
Pulls over his friend, Bill He says,
“Buddy Ole’ Pal… We’ve got nothing in the till.”
“We’ve got a big bar tab… It’s a hefty sum…”
“I’ve got an idea… It’s a good one… POSSUM!”

(to the song: SWEET CAROLINE)
Where it began, I think the bar was Wickets
As you can see, it’s growing strong
Was it to give, or was it to pay their bar tab ?
Who would believe you’d all come along
Lives… Touching lives… reaching out…
Touching me, touching you… Sweet Possum Queen..
Good times never seemed so good..
I’ve never seen, something quite like Possum Queen, oh no no..

(to the song: DANCING QUEEN)
It’s new year’s day and here we are,
It was noon when I first hit the baaar
It’s hard to do this straight laced, I’m already
pretty poop face, my score is par…
But if we could reach that star
We’ll be the Possum queen,
with a slight lean, from the “heinekeeen..”

(to the song: OOPS I DID IT AGAIN)
Oops, I did it again, I drank just a bit..
got caught in this skit, ooh baby baby..
Oops, I stand here today..
 with something to sayyy..
I’m not quite hammered yet..

(to the song: The Lion sleeps tonight)
OH WEEMBO WEP.. In the village,
the tiny village, the possum used to be…
In the village, the overcrowded village,
we held the possum queen.
Oh weeee, oh wee dum, etc..

(to the song: I think I’m turning Japanese)
I think I’m turning possum queen,
I think I’m turning possum queen, I really think so

(to the song: Grundy county auction)
Hey can of possum, won’t you give me a sign
I’ll give anything to make you mine
all mine I’ll do your bidding, I’ll be at your beckon call
I’ve never seen anyone bid
so high As SteveSage in a yellow suit and tie
I’m going once.. going twice, I’m Sold!
(wait a minute, I didn’t bid that much
That Rick Neller keeps setting me
up once he stole my prized guitar
And hid it in the back seat of his car)

(to the song: Hey-Ya) Posssum… Posssum…
Shake it like a John Mckenna Picture

(to the song: Semi-charmed life)
I want something else to get me through
this Possum Queen kind of life… I want something else,
I’m not listening when you say, “You’re drunk !”

(to the song: We didn’t start the fire)
O’shaunessey, a former queen…
Syncronized swim team Blues brothers,
Ghost busters… Stevie Wonder made
the scene... Micky Pratt as Corleone…
Trip to Puerto Rico 5 days, expenses paid…
They’re just not consecutive
We didn’t start the Possum.. It was Hawk and Billy
And they’re really Silly.. We didn’t start the Possum
But we play it on and on and on and on

Zeller's group performed a retrospective as well while Team Goshen performed a
'Star Wars' spoof led by Micky Pratt. Murphy-Budny was judged the best
and earned the Possum Queen title, which it has won several times.

Contest founders and judges Brent Hawkins and Billy Neller were front and center all
afternoon, imploring the crowd to dig into their pockets and donate money to the cause.
They were expecting the contest, and its silent and live auctions, to raise $50,000 or more.

Rich Pratt of Litchfield greets the crowd.

Murphy-Budny spiritual leader Rey Budny.

A buxom D.J. Murphy of Litchfield.

Lesly Budny of Litchfield as Dorothy from the 'Wizard of Oz.'

Budny-Murphy's Jenni Matthews wows the crowd.

Team Goshen's Micky Pratt, as Yoda from 'Star Wars,'
chats with judges Billy Neller, left, and Brent Hawkins.

Team Goshen's Joan Tekula and Peter Bergamo.

Joan Tekula charms the crowd.

A floored Mat Wheeler and Ethan Pratt in the Team Goshen skit.

Micky Pratt departs the ballroom at the end of the skit.

Team Goshen's Joe Pratt was C3Pio.

Some of the Zeller group in line.

Henry Wheelahan of Team Zeller.

Matt Sweet steps out with a hand from Mike Bolton.

Steve Sage arrives in his 'Three Amigos' costume.

Murphy-Budny's Dan Kobylenski as The Penguin.

Ian Campbell also did his Jimmy Fallon imitation.

As unbelievable as it may sound,
the Possum Queen Contest is about to turn 25.
For 25 years we have been playing possum in Litchfield. Many of you may not know what we have been doing,
what we are about or even that we exist. We have a Possum Queen Contest every year right here in Litchfield, CT.
on January 1 "New Year's Day" and have grown this event year over year. The unfortunate piece of this,
as we have grown so have our incoming requests. Our mission is clear "to support families and individuals
 that incur severe extended medical hardships". Our one main event can make a difference but we need
your help to be able to build our foundation for the full year stretch. We need your kindness
and support so that we can continue our mission in 2015 and beyond.

We can't believe it either, but the 25th annual Possum Queen Contest is coming!
Possum Day is always a fun, fundraising event on New Year's Day, which over time
has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for the Possum Queen Foundation,
 a 501c3 charitable foundation based in Litchfield.
Unlike some other charities, nearly all the monies (about 97%) raised
go to needy recipients who have extenuating medical needs.

~ BZ photos
The Possum Queen Contest is a tongue-in-cheek beauty pageant, where beauty and
talent have nothing to do with it; it's all about bribing the judges! Those "bribes" are actually
donations to the foundation, and its biggest fundraiser is the Possum Queen Contest.

     A new Possum Queen will be crowned on New Year's Day (aka "Possum Day") at the Litchfield Inn
during the 25th annual Possum Queen Contest, with the doors opening at 12 noon. It is a tongue -in-cheek
beauty pageant where beauty and talent have nothing to do with it; it's all about bribing the judges.

The contest started out as a joke but has grown into a legitimate fundraiser, with the 501c3
Possum Queen Foundation collecting over $250,000 in donations helping people with extenuating medical needs.
This past year alone the foundation granted out over $50,000 to deserving individuals.

     In addition to the bribes received by the judges for Possum Queen Candidates there is also
a silent auction as well as a live auction taking place. And those candidates vying for the
crown put on skits to help sway the judges to pick them as the new queen.

     Some of the items going in the auctions either the live or the silent, still undetermined at press time
are: a 1965 Honda C110, 55 cc motorbike, complete with owner's manual, and it's in spectacular condition!
A gorgeous Norwegian Blue Fox Coat will be in the auction. Also featured are: Red Sox Green Monster tickets,
Yankees tickets, an autographed guitar from Johnny and Edgar Winter; an autographed guitar from
Carly Simon and one from Jay and the Americans. There is a multi-course dinner for 8 prepared by
Chef Christian in your home which would be a fabulous prize to bid on. Wood's Pit of Bantam will BBQ
for 20 if you are the lucky winner of their BBQ feast. For those who like a little extra incentive there are
two Lottery Trees, each with $120 of various lottery game tickets hanging from the branches.
We also have a very unique item, hockey pads worn by US Olympian and NHL All-Star goalie, Rick DiPietro.

     Two limited edition Possum Queen Lamps made especially for the 25th anniversary will be up for grabs.
Possum Queen even has its own wine, "Road Kill Red" going in the auction. This wine is extremely rare
as only 33 cases were produced in 2010 and ready for 2015. A beautiful homemade quilt is on the auction
block, as is an autographed baseball stat sheet signed by Carlton Fisk, Tim Wakefield and Bill "Spaceman" Lee.
We also have an autographed bat from MLB great Dave Henderson.  
So you get the idea, there's a lot of things for a lot of different tastes.
Since the Possum Queen Foundation is a 501c3, it's tax deductable.  
     So come on down to the Litchfield Inn on January 1st at 12 noon and start the bribing at the door
with stewardess Crystal Chandelier and pilot Sully Hudson of Possum Air. There will be a lot of people
 dressed in costumes and some not, but everyone is welcome. There is no admission fee, but your
 bribe will get you to Possum Land.  If you can't make it to the event, but you still want to bribe
 (donate) to the foundation, you can mail a check of money order to:
The Possum Queen Foundation, P.O. Box 1865, Litchfield, CT 06759.

All the bribes are donations and are tax deductable, so come on out to the
25th Possum Queen Contest and have fun while helping a great cause.
We put the FUN in fun-draising!!!
Several groups and individuals will be vying for the title of Possum Queen, which includes
the Possum Queen sash, a bouquet of dead roses (they aren't dead they are just playing Possum!)
and the right to "Play Dead" for an entire year., and of course, lasting infamy! The contestants
for this year are just as mediocre as they have always been but they have another year
of experience under their belt, so it's going to be even more fun than ever!!!

The stalwarts are back in the lineup with skits planned by former Possum Queen winners:
The Murphy/Budny Clan; The Zeller Group; Team Goshen,
as well as newcomers to the show: A troupe from the Warner Theatre
and another group which is listed under the witness protection program!

Over the years many local families and individuals have benefitted from the generosity
of the Possum Queen Foundation and the foundation has benefited from the generous
people from all over Litchfield County and beyond. We put the "Fun" in Fun-draising!
" Be ready to bribe the pilot and the flight attendant from Possum Air when you come
in the doors, so you can be transported to the Possum Queen Contest!!!

Who will be the "Best in Tails?" or the "Best in Heels?"
And who will be crowned "Possum Queen 2015?"
Only time will tell. If you cannot make this crazy event and want to bribe,
 I mean donate to Possum, please send you checks to:
Possum Queen Foundation
P.O. Box 1865
Litchfield, CT 06759

All donations are tax-deductable
so please bribe earlier and bribe often!!!
You too could be Possum Queen!!!
Now that's a resume padder!!!
Food and drink will be available through
the Litchfield Inn during the day.
We hope to see you all there!!!

Possum Queen Kickoff - 2nd Annual Bridge Run
Saturday, November 22, 2014
"Remembering Roberta Coffill Healy"


24th Annual Possum Queen Contest
January 1, 2014 @ The Litchfield Inn

Zeller group wins 2014 Possum Queen Contest
Litchfield.bz (01-02-14)
Gary Zeller, second from right, and representatives of his team bask in the glow of winning the
Possum Queen Contest on New Year's Day. With Zeller are, from left, John Caron, Val Caron and
Matt Sweet. Below, Godpossum Micky Pratt allows contest judge Billy Neller to kiss her ring. BZ photos

A crazy, wild and wacky New Year's Day at the Litchfield Inn ended with
Gary Zeller and his team winning the 24th annual Possum Queen Contest.
Zeller's team was accompanied by the Mattatuck Drum Band and put on
a show that judges Brent Hawkins and Billy Neller declared the best.
For winning, the Zeller team earned the right to play dead in 2014.

Team Zeller

For years, Zeller and his gang of Evelyn Crandall, Rick Pratt, Matt Sweet and Jim Ferrucci have
been entertaining crowds as the contest. So have Team Goshen and the Murphy-Budny team.
All three performed yet again and had the standing-room only crowd roaring.

Team Murphy-Budny

Team Goshen, the 2013 winner, did a skit based on the movie "The Godfather,"
with Micky Pratt playing Vito Corleone, or in this case Vito Possumleone.
The Possumleone "family" tried to bribe, intimidate and threaten its way
to another title but couldn't sway the judges.

Team Goshen
Pratt was brilliant in her role, giving perhaps her best performance in the contest.
Team Goshen was the runner up choice. The Budny-Murphy team
earned third place for their retired superheroes skit.

The contest included live and silent auctions and raised thousands of dollars for the
Possum Queen Foundation, which assists local residents facing high medical costs.
The teams raised some money and Hawkins and Neller received cash donations in the form of bribes.

The live auction saw four tickets to a Red Sox-Yankees game in Fenway Park go for $2,600.
 An autographed James Taylor guitar went for $2,250 and
an autographed Charlie Daniels fiddle sold for $2,150.

The highlight of the afternoon came when Steve Sage and a group of donors
bid $7,000 for a can of possum soup. Sage and his group win the can every year
and return it to the judges so they can bid for it the next year.

Dignitaries spotted in the crowd included 1991 Possum Queen Rory O'Shaughnessy, Denny Brown,
who put on a show at the 1992 contest, and Litchfield Hills Probate District Judge Diane Blick.

Rey Budny gets a feel for things during his team's performance.

Steve Sage prepares to receive the can of possum soup
his consortium bid $7,000 for in the live auction.

Micky Pratt auctions off the can of possum soup.

Performers gather for a photo at the end of the contest.

Bruce Losee participates in the live auction.

From left, Val Caron, D.J. Murphy and Matt Sweet.

Micky Pratt seeks donations after the show.

Val Caron meets the Godpossum.

Val Caron and Gary Zeller.

Judges Billy Neller, left, and Brent Hawkins.

Judge Brent Hawkins got smooched by the Godpossum girls.

Godpossum Micky Pratt tries to bribe the judges.

Brent Hawkins ponders the Godpossum bribe offer.

The judges were summoned to the table by the Godpossum.

Godpossum goddaughter Susan Wheeler speaks to the crowd.

Mat Wheeler speaks on behalf of the Godpossum.

The Godpossum ladies were decked out for the show.

Judge Charlie Gill, his wife. Joan, and Anne C. Dranginis watch the show.

Former Possum Queen Rory O'Shaughnessy was in attendance.

Evelyn Crandall played Betsy Ross for the Zeller team.

Rich Pratt was part of the Zeller team.

Jim Ferrucci, who played Ben Franklin for the Zeller team, admires Steve Sage's suit.

Leslie Budny and Darrin Murphy in their superheroes show.

Rey Budny performs in his team's skit.

The Godpossum bids his goddaughters farewell.

Billy Neller presents Jenny Matthews with the Thunder le Boom Award.

photos courtesy of Leslie Caron below


The 24th annual Possum Queen Contest is coming back to the Litchfield Inn this Possum Day, January 1st.
This tongue-in-cheek beauty pageant (Where beauty and talent have nothing to do with it,
it's all about bribing the judges!) has been a tremendous success for some unknown reason.
Maybe it's because we put the FUN in FUNdraising? There is no other event of its kind anywhere in the world,
so you will not want to miss it! The doors of the Litchfield Inn open at 12 Noon and the fun begins immediately on Possum Day.
Please be prepared to bribe early and often! And yes we do take credit cards, checks and even cash!!!

Will there be entertainment? Good question! It all depends on what your view of entertainment is,
but there will be several people/groups vying for the coveted Possum Queen Crown this year as the
talent competition is already filling up!!! The acts promises to be somewhere between:
"What the heck was that?" to "That was hysterical!"

Who will wear the Possum Queen Sash and receive the bouquet of dead roses and claim
the right to play dead for an entire year in 2014? Just wait and see!

The Possum Queen Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization and we are very proud of the fact that in our
24-year history we have been able to devote almost 100% of all proceeds to the intended recipients. Now that
we are officially a non-profit (501c3) organization, we pay the fees and insurance necessary to keep us legal,
and ALL of the rest of the money goes to the recipients, (which is about 97%). There is so much to operating
a charity we are constantly trying to get the number up from 97% so that we can give away as much
as possible year over year. Everyone associated with this charity is a volunteer and our Board of Directors
is thankful to have such a dedicated and caring group who just want to make
things better for families who have a bump in their road.

The Possum Queen Live and Silent Auctions have been a big hit for years!
Here's a few of some interesting auction items at Possum this year:
A short silver fox ladies coat! (It's gorgeous!);
A mink stole!!! (No explanation necessary!!!);
Yankees tickets (4) at Yankee stadium;
A complete set of 1964 (50 years old by Possum Day) giant-sized baseball cards.
They only made these cards in 1964 and in 1971 so they are rare and there are several
Hall of Famers in the pack including: Mickey Mantle, Bob Gibson and Roberto Clemente.

Four (4) Green Monster Seats as the Red Sox host the Yankees on Saturday, July 5th;
an acoustic guitar autographed by James Taylor,
an electric guitar signed by Willie Nelson,
and an electric guitar signed by Vinnie Martell of Vanilla Fudge fame.
There is one more string instrument up for bids;
a beautiful, white violin autographed by the man himself, the great Charlie Daniels!
We've also got tickets to a Broadway Play up for grabs at the auctions…..

Doors open at 12 noon for Possum at the Litchfield Inn....on Possum Day, January 1st.

Many more auction items will be available, but you will just have to come and see for yourself.
Much needed food and drink for sustaining your energy for Possum Day is available at the Litchfield Inn as well!!!

As mentioned, we are a 501c3 charitable foundation! Donations are tax deductible!
Please plan to get to the Possum Queen Contest early; parking is at a premium for this event!
Oh, and if you want to wear your most garish outfit, it would probably be a good idea!

For over 24 years we have been playing possum in Litchfield. Many of you may not know what we have been doing,
what we are about or even that we exist. We have a Possum Queen Contest every year right here in Litchfield, CT.
on January 1 "New Year's Day" and have grown this event year over year. The unfortunate piece of this,
as we have grown so have our incoming requests. Our mission is clear "to support families and individuals that incur
severe extended medical hardships." Our one main event can make a difference, but we need your help to be able
to build our foundation for the full year stretch. We need your kindness
and support so that we can continue our mission in 2014 and beyond.

Just think 24 years ago The Possum Queen Festival  started with two guys sitting in a bar on New Year's Day
and  the first year event had anywhere from 3 to 7 people. That one event has now grown past 600 generous and
caring folks and we don't want to stop there. Through everyone's generosity over the years you have turned,
 what was a small glimmer of thought and hope, into a tremendous charitable foundation!  We now operate year-round
and continue to grow and help individuals and families throughout the year. The Founders of The Possum Queen Foundation
started out raising just over $400 at the first Possum Queen Festival and over the years we
have totaled well over $230,000 in donations that have been distributed to our deserving recipients.
PQ Media Contact: Brent Hawkins (860) 309-9545

23rd Annual Possum Queen Contest
January 1, 2013
Due to copyright issues with music used in the skits,
the videos are no longer available on Litchfield.bz's YouTube. ~ Sorry!

Possum Queen Contest rocks the Litchfield Inn
Litchfield.bz (01-02-13)
Evelyn Meyer escorts Mike Bolton, who played Andrea Bocelli, into the Possum Queen Contest.
Below, Matt Wheeler was Elvis Presley. BZ photos

New Year's Day was again a festive one in Litchfield thanks
to the annual Possum Queen Contest, a big-time fundraiser and afternoon of
dramatic creativity benefiting the non-profit Possum Queen Foundation.

Proceeds from the contest at the Litchfield Inn are still being tallied,
but estimates show more than $30,000 coming in.
All of it will be distributed to local families facing financial crises due to medical problems.

The title of Possum Queen once again went to a group of performers anchored
by Joe and Micky Pratt and Sue and Mat Wheeler, all of Goshen.
They joined with about 20 others to perform a tribute to music legends such
as Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Michael and Jackson, not to mention
ABBA and a legend of a different kind, Marilyn Monroe.
Even more impressive was the amount of money the
group raised through pledges and donations: $12,133.

Runner up was a skit performed by the Possum International Synchronized Swim Team,
or PISST for short. They performed a beautifully choreographed exhibition
while spoofing the U.S. Olympic synchronized swim team. Performing were
Gary Zeller, Rich Pratt, Matt Sweet, Val Caron, Jim Ferrucci,
Henry Wheelahan, Mike Bolton and Evelyn Meyer.

A third act performed a music number and generated $3,000 for the cause.
Members of the Murphy and Budny families made up the act.
Live and silent auctions generated money as did the
auction of a can of Possum Soup, which went for $6,310.

The successful bid when to a consortium of Steve Sage, Bill Brakeman, John Houllahan,
George Szigeti, Chris Korn, Tim Chapulis, Bruce Losee, Paul Lupinacci and the Village Restaurant.

There was plenty of bribe money thrown into the pot as well after it was
donated to contest founders and judges Brent Hawkins and Billy Neller.

Hawkins and Neller also declared themselves winners of the no-talent award.
Best in heels went to Sue Wheeler and Tina Blauvelt, the Dead Ernie Award
went to Joe Pratt for his portrayal of Dick Clark,
and the Brakeman Award went to Bill and Lee Brakeman.
The Possum International Synchronized Swim Team gets ready for action.
 From left are, Henry Wheelahan, Jim Ferrucci, Gary Zeller,
Matt Sweet, Val Caron and Rich Pratt.

Eric Blauvelt performed as Roy Orbison.

The synchronized swim team displays its skills.

Joe Doherty portrayed an ABBA guitarist.

Henry Wheelahan rides on the shoulders of teammates.

Tina Blauvelt, left, and Sue Wheeler were ABBA's lead singers.

Members of the Budny-Murphy team celebrate their performance.

Kendall Roman did a great portrayal of Michael Jackson.

Micky Pratt played Saturday Night Live character Father Guido Sarducci.

The winning team celebrates the amount of money it raised.

Adam Wheeler, as Stevie Wonder, leads the winning team's celebration.

Mary Novajasky was in costume as an airline stewardess.

Patty Buonocore reprised her role as Vanna White for the live auction.

Rey Budny, left, led his team's musical performance.

more BZ photos

please send your donations to:
Possum Queen Foundation
P.O. Box  1865
Litchfield, CT 06759

Contact: Brent Hawkins (860) 309-9545

 photos courtesy of Leslie Caron

2012 Possum Queen Contest
January 1, 2012 @ The Litchfield Inn

Possum Queen Contest sets a new $$$ record
Litchfield.bz (01-02-12)

What's in your wallet?

Wheel of Possum

Andy Rooney Impersonation

Possum TV

Adam Wheeler and his colleagues in the "Wheel of Possum" skit celebrate
their victory in the Possum Queen Contest on Sunday,
while below, the Vikings perform their skit. BZ photos
An epic New Year's Day afternoon at the Litchfield Inn saw a record amount of money
generated during a hilarious Possum Queen Contest that drew a huge crowd willing to
 open its wallets, checkbooks and hearts to help some needy local residents.

Contest judges and founders Brent Hawkins and Bill Neller oversaw a monumental event that
raised more than $43,000 for the non-profit Possum Queen Foundation.
The judges are still tallying the proceeds and don't know how much they'll gross,
but it will far exceed the previous record of $30,000 raised in 2011.

"Absolutely fabulous," Hawkins said late Sunday night.
"They just knocked it out of the box."

Hawkins credited the legion of volunteers who assisted with the organization of the
22nd annual contest, those who donated items for the live and silent
auctions, and everyone who generously donated money.
"It's all going to a great cause," Hawkins said.
There was a lot of money-counting going on during the Possum Queen Contest. BZ photo

"The Bribe is Right" skit unfolds during the Possum Queen Contest. BZ photo

photos contributed by Leslie Caron

2011 Possum Queen
January 1, 2011 @ The Litchfield Inn

2010 Possum Queen
January 1, 2010 @ The Litchfield Inn

Part 1

Part 2

Can you identify all the places that Possum visited in 2010?