A man shaved his head into a "49er" Mohawk, another was pelted with 2,000 eggs and a woman stripped down to a scanty football costume in a contest Thursday to win the most valued prizes in town--Super Bowl tickets.
The competition, which drew thousands of people to the downtown Embarcadero plaza, was the latest craze preceding Sunday's NFL title game between San Francisco and the Miami Dolphins at nearby Stanford Stadium.
Steve Lugon, a 24-year-old male model, took a bath in a tub filled with red and gold Jell-O, the colors of the 49ers. He and eight other contestants vied for half-a-dozen pairs of Super Bowl tickets that were selling for as much as $1,000 apiece.
Electronics technician Bob Tuttle donned a Dolphin costume and was tarred with molasses and feathered as the crowd cheered.
"The best way to keep people you don't want out of town is to tar and feather them," said Tuttle, 27.
Most of the judges' votes went to Art Rasey, 23, an auto body worker, who called his conduct the craziest thing he had done since he accidentally rolled a car on the freeway.
Rasey's sister shaved his head into a Mohawk cut, painted the remaining hair red and gold, put 49er symbols on the shaven sides of his head and sent him off a platform as he shouted, "I'm going to the Super Bowl."
Having won tickets, he said he would keep his hairdo for the game so "everybody will see me."
Don Bleu, the emcee for the contest sponsored by San Francisco radio station KYUU, said the winners should create quite a spectacle during the game.
"They will be sitting in the same row. It won't take the camera long to find people like this," Bleu said.
For 28-year-old fireman Tony Snerdel, the contest offered 49er fans "a chance to get all their aggressions out."
Snerdel, who is in the egg business, brought 4,900 eggs for noontime spectators to throw at him as he wore a Dolphin uniform.
So many eggs were available that the crowd didn't have time to toss more than half of them at Snerdel in the five minutes allotted to each contestant by the contest rules.
Mayor Dianne Feinstein was satirized by Cynthia Cheak, a 23-year-old shoe store salesperson. Saying she was doing "what Dianne does almost daily," Cheak stripped down to a brief 49er costume as her accompanist sang: "Dianne, Dianne, sweet and kind of naughty."
"We're showing our visitors San Francisco at its best," Bleu said. "We're not just a regular town like Minneapolis."
Unauthorized souvenir sellers, street walkers and a plethora of other underground entrepreneurs cashing in on the Super Bowl stand to reap millions for their efforts before the opening kickoff.
From ticket scalpers to residents who rent their homes out for the weekend, entrepreneurs have created a shadow economy beyond the $102.1 million that officials have estimated the game will inject into the area's economy.
Most of that money will go to hotels, restaurants and transportation interests. But hundreds of mostly small-time operators plan to get their share of the big bucks circulating around the game.
"There are always a lot of small people who want to jump on the bandwagon," said one NFL licensing official who asked not to be named. "It's usually a local guy who thinks he can get rich quick by printing up a couple of T-shirts with the home team's name on it. Our problem is that most fans are not sophisticated enough to know what is and what isn't officially licensed."
The NFL has authorized 110 companies to produce more than 12,000 official items for the league's 28 teams, including lunch boxes, table lamps and beds.