It took him 50 hours, but Cameron Castles stuck with it.
The recent Henderson High School grad now hopes his duct tape creation will seal a scholarship to help his medical career aspirations.
“It’s coming up quick,” Castles said of a Friday deadline for the public to vote in the 19th Annual Stuck at Prom competition, where he is a finalist from among more than 100 graduating seniors who designed and fashioned their prom dress or tuxedo with duct tape.
Sponsored by Duck Brand, the contest awards $10,000 scholarships to the best dress and tux each year, plus four $500 runners-up rewards in each category. Voting is online at www.duckbrand.com/stuck-at-prom .
Castles, the son of Suzanne and Phil Castles, the latter Henderson ISD’s athletic director, put together a white tuxedo with the king of hearts emblazoned on the back to observe the Lion’s after-prom party casino night theme. He said his senior-year search for scholarships led him to the quirky contest, though he wasn’t sure how to go about making the suit.
“I just kept on,” he said Monday from an area church camp where he is a counselor. “Five hours turned into 50 hours, and I had something to wear.”
He added that the outfit took 20 rolls of tape.
Castles said he wanted to wear something “dignified and refined” to the Class of 2019 soiree. The dashing, Southern-style white tuxedo fit the bill.
“It just looked better with white,” he said, adding the white surface was challenging because it revealed any mistake in the intricate king of hearts playing card he reproduced on the back of the jacket. He used the Duck Brand logo for his Texas-sized belt buckle.
The jacket, matching vest and the rest played well in the full house during prom, which Castles said he attended with a group of friends.
“They all wore regular clothes,” he said. “They were fine, I’m sitting there burning up. ... It was real hot, because duct tape is not supposed to be worn. I could’ve cooked things under there, but it was a blast. ... If the scholarship doesn’t work out, maybe I can start renting out the suit as a weight-loss program.”
Ashley Luke, category manager at ShurTech Brands, which markets the Duck brand of duct tape, said the copyrighted Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest began as a way to engage young people in the venerable product and support their education goals at the same time.
“Cameron shared that his tux was inspired by his prom’s casino night theme and specifically the king of hearts,” she wrote in an email. “He chose to incorporate a Southern-style white tux for its stylish appearance, and all of the patterns and corners of the tux are based on the king of hearts playing card, with the exception of the Duck brand logo belt buckle — a nod to his Texan heritage.”
Luke said Castles and a San Antonio woman are the only Texans among 78 finalists nationwide.
Castles said the lighting at the prom played to his advantage.
“A lot of people thought I was wearing leather,” he said. “So, that’s great for me, because I pulled it off. So, that’s pretty cool. I’m not necessarily an artist, but I am crafty.”
The recent graduate plans to attend Texas Baptist College in Longview to begin pre-medical studies. He hopes for the scholarship to help him through undergraduate studies because he anticipates taking on debt later in medical school.