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Gamers and cosplayers unite at Rowdy Con

By Chantel Vargas & Sandy Ornelas
The Runner Staff


Droid builder Jackie Bell of the R2-D2 Builders Club shows off his own model at Rowdy Con on Sept. 30.
Photo by Jarad Mann/The Runner


  Rowdy Con 2017 was Sept. 30, and the turnout was great. There were over 25 themed game rooms, panels, contests, and more, all for a great cause.

  Rowdy Con began with a “Game On!” 5k Fun Run at 7 a.m. This was a benefit for the Lauren Small Children’s Center in Bakersfield. The money that was donated went towards purchasing medical equipment so that children don’t need to be flown out of town.

  Student Organizations and Runner Sync Coordinator Edward Webb explains the purpose of the annual event.

  “Rowdy Con is an event we do at CSUB to raise money for the childrens hospital here in Bakersfield. We’ve done it for 5 years in the past. Its been called Extra Life, this year we added a lot of convention elements to it, like a vendor exp, speakers and panels to make it a bigger event,” he said.

  The Lauren Small Children’s Center Panel started at 2 p.m. Robin Woodward, the manager at Children’s Miracle Network, spoke. She was joined by former patient Brock Welch and his mother, Christy Welch. The hospital helped 28,000 kids last year. Of the children admitted to the hospital, 88 percent stay there for treatment. The smallest baby born in the hospital weighed 12 ounces.

  “We’re real people. We’re a real family. This is my son, and your donations have helped heal my child. He is not defined by his illness. He’s just a normal teenager. He just loves life, and we just love him. I am very blessed and honored to be his mom,” said Christy Welch.

  In the Student Recreation Center, R2-D2 was spotted along with many other vendors. The R2-D2 Builders Club build droids from “Star Wars” out of materials such as wood, plastic, metal, and fiberglass. The club was founded in 1999 by Dave Everett with over 5,000 members worldwide.

  Rowdy Con President and graduate student Brittany Perez hopes Rowdy Con becomes an annual event.

  “We wanted something to be a legacy for CSU Bakersfield because unlike other schools like CSU Fullerton, who have vintage days, we wanted a legacy but also something that would be going towards a good cause. Instead of Extra Life, we turned it into Rowdy Con,” said Perez.

  Louie Barajas, 18, mathematics major, helped set up the event and assisted in games. He said he had a lot of fun helping others and getting to enjoy the different cosplayers in the different areas of the event.

  He said his favorite memory from the event was when he saw “one of the Pikachu [costumes] deflate after the cosplay contest. The valve popped off of her suit and all the air started coming out.”

  The cosplay contest started at 3:15 p.m. Francis Alvarez cosplayed as DC Comics’s Poison Ivy from “Batman.” Alvarez spent about four hours making her cosplay costume.

  She used a corset and covered it in leaves, wore green tights, and painted her gloves and boots green. For her hair, she used an Ariel wig, from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”

  Alvarez has been cosplaying for about two to three years. She tries to frequently go to other cons including Bakersfield Comic-Con, Collector-Con, Long Beach Comic-Con, and WonderCon.

  She makes all her costumes and is currently working on a 2017 Wonder Woman costume.

  Rowdy Con ended in the Doré Theatre with a “RowdyCon-cert” that started at 7:30 p.m. with the rock band, Critical Hit, “World of Warcraft” composer, Jason Hayes and game music band, Dusty Cartridge.