Meet the 2017 Bachelors!

Scroll down the page to check out all the guys who'll be up on the auction block!


When you buy a ticket online, you can enter the name of the bachelor you'd like to support when you check out through PayPal. But if you can't make it to the event, you can still support your favorite bachelor (or bachelors) by making a donation directly in his name! The bachelor who collects the most donations - and gets the most fundraising support overall - will win the title of MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELOR for 2017. Just click on the support button under the photo of your favorite bachelor(s).

Of course, if you can't pick just one, you can choose to support all bachelors by clicking on the box below.

Find out which bachelors are in the running to receive the title of MOST ELIGIBLE by following us on our Friends of Literacy and Bachelor Auction Facebook pages.

Andrew O’Gara

  • Account Executive, Tennessee Smokies Baseball

  • Age: 24 

  • Height: 6’1"

Andrew might be an Ohio-native but he loves the laid-back atmosphere of the small towns in East Tennessee! This fun, energetic, and very outgoing bachelor enjoys working out, restoring cars, and sailing on boats. Oh, and let’s not forget he also has a black belt in Karate! If you own an AC/DC shirt, you are sure to be fast friends, but sorry ladies; if you have a peanut allergy, Andrew may not be the guy for you. He loves peanut butter and says he just can’t live without it. In fact, his guilty pleasure is snacking on a jar of peanut butter every day! 

Arrin (AZ) Zedeh  

  • Attorney, Oberman and Rice Law Firm

  • Age: 35

  • Height: 6’3"

We object to you saying that this attorney is too serious because we would describe him as silly, kind and even a little goofy! Known by his friends as “AZ” this tall, tan, homegrown Tennessean loves the Vols and believe it or not, used to play Dungeons and Dragons. If he could travel anywhere in the world, he would want to see the Northern Lights, and says the older he gets, the more that natural beauty interests him. If you’re looking for him around Knoxville, you will probably find him in downtown indulging in pizza and a fresh chocolate chip cookie! 

Bobby Nicholson

  • Owner, Outlier’s Advantage  

  • Age: 32 

  • Height: 5’9"

Bobby is a guy who never stops smiling.  He is the owner of his own in-home tutoring company and serves as the Community Events Coordinator at Knox Life Church. He enjoys meeting new people, bringing people together and helping build a better community. Bobby is described as a great listener and says his is ideal first date is hiking and then eating frozen yogurt. Although his friends my say he’s a little nerdy, don’t think Bobby lacks a wild side.  One time in New York he went streaking down 5th Avenue! 

Brandon Bell

  • Actor/Model, Talent Trek Agency

  • Age: 32

  • Height: 6’2"

Brandon can be described as loyal and dependable, and believes fully in putting others before himself. He looks up to his father, Denzel Washington, and Steven Spielberg – which makes sense because he’s a professional actor. Brandon’s lifetime goal is to help as many people as he can. Working toward his goal, he volunteers by reading to elementary school children at Pleasant Ridge Elementary and is passionate about helping the homeless population in our community. Although, he says he’s a closet nerd who likes comics and cartoons, he still looks cool in his leather jacket. 

Brian Brubaker

  • Service Technician, Professional Compressed Air    

  • Age: 43

  • Height: 5’11"

This adventurous bachelor dreams of working in the Great Smoky Mountains as a bear rescuer. What’s the craziest thing he’s done? Kite tubing! Brian may be quiet at first, but as soon as you get to know him you’ll see that he is very easy-going, genuine, and thoughtful. The accomplishment he is most proud of is having his custom vehicles featured in numerous magazines. He would love to meet the late Johnny Cash, but if he could trade lives with anyone it would be the Dos Equis pitchman, AKA “the most interesting man in the world.” 

Doc Claussen

  • Railroad Administrator, Gulf & Ohio Railways 

  • Age: 48 

  • Height: 6'2"

Doc is a Knoxville-native who loves road racing, golf, and photography. This bachelor is also community minded, serving on the boards of the UT College of Nursing and the Historic Tennessee Theatre. He can be shy and introverted but enjoys stimulating conversation and tries to not take life too seriously.  His friends describe him as funny and he thinks the first thing you will notice about him is his laugh.  When not busy, you may find him in a pair of comfortable jeans at his favorite hangout- Balter Beerworks. 

Donald (DJ) Smith

  • Software Engineer, Libera Inc.  

  • Age: 26

  • Height: 6’0"

By day Donald is a software engineer and dreams of working at Google. By night, you may find him sharing a bottle of wine and stargazing - while wearing his favorite article of clothing a bow-tie. His hobbies include watching sports, fishing, hunting, reading, and watching movies. Although he says he has a crazy fear of heights, this dare devil went skydiving and says now he is in love with the thrill!  He is mildly obsessed with Harry Potter and loves dropping Harry Potter pick-up lines.  Maybe he will drop one on you!

Erik Wiatr

  • Realtor, Keller Williams Realty

  • Age: 35

  • Height: 5’9"

Erik is do-gooder who enjoys spending his free time volunteering for Lost Sheep where he serves coffee and food to those in need. Although Erik is a native Illinoisan, he loves East Tennessee’s close community, mountains and the much warmer weather. Some of Erik’s hobbies include working out, playing soccer, cooking, and travelling.  Two things that he can’t live without are hot wings and learning.  In college, he graduated with a bachelor of arts in history and was recognized as one of 25 most distinguished seniors in his class. 

Jake James Hasenauer

  • Radio Co-Host, The Morning After Show on 94Z FM

  • Age: 38

  • Height: 5’11"

You may know Jake James from the Morning After show on radio station 94Z, but what you might not know is that he once beat Trae Crowder in a comedy contest or that he celebrated his 12th birthday at the Berlin Wall. This man loves Star Wars. In fact, if he could trade lives with any one person for a day it’d be – yep, you guessed it – George Lucas. This funny and full-of-life bachelor is a Knoxville-native but has lived all over the US in Florida, California, and Arizona; however, he can’t resist East Tennessee for the four seasons, nice folks, and football! Go Vols!

Jarvis Allen

  • Development Representative, Coyote Logistics

  • Age: 25

  • Height: 5’11"

The first things people usually notice about Jarvis are his fashion and his smile - you’ll rarely catch Jarvis without a bowtie or that gorgeous grin. This funny and full of energy bachelor also has a kind heart. He uses his free time to volunteer at his church’s food pantry and attends events for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as often as he can. Graduating from Bethel University, he was the first football player to major in Music Business. So it makes sense that he looks to Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars for inspiration.

Jeff Helie

  • Specialist, TruGreen

  • Age: 48

  • Height: 5’9"

This California native not only has a perfect smile, he is funny, gets along with everyone, and is very outgoing. This bachelor loves Mexican food, stating he can’t live without Coke, tacos, and chips and salsa. His hobbies include listening to music, golfing, and playing pool.  He is actually a competitive pool player.  Jeff is a sharp dresser whose favorite outfit is dress pants with a mock turtle or button up dress shirt with a sport coat. He dreams of traveling to Ireland to play golf and soak in the natural beauty. 

Jesse Papa

  • Realtor, Realty 360 Properties    

  • Age: 27

  • Height: 5'11"

Jesse’s friends describe him as trustworthy, dependable, and intelligent. He describes himself as a young, well-mannered guy who wants to make everyone around him happy. This bachelor loves to try new things and meet new people.  Jesse also likes to sing and dance!  As a teenager he would sing Disney songs in his hallway.  Today you can find him belting out tunes at Karaoke nights in town or dancing freestyle at his favorite club.  He says if he could trade lives with any one person, it would be with a monk – to be completely free from the rest of the world. 

John Hardy Jr. 

  • Research Analyst, Scripps Network Interactive    

  • Age: 24

  • Height: 5'10"

This intelligent and charismatic man has a good sense of humor and loves East Tennessee! Why? Because of the many breweries we have, of course. John volunteers at Catholic High School as an assistant lacrosse coach – he loves the sport! John is a very competitive man that would love to get to know a lady over a first date of darts, putt-putt, or bowling. John holds a special place in his heart for bang-bang shrimp, karaoke, and Valentina hot sauce. If you get the chance, ask him about the time he nearly drowned while tubing in a tropical storm! 

Ken Pontrelli

  • Government Loan Account Representative, Vanderbilt Mortgage       

  • Age: 26

  • Height: 5’8"

This quick-witted bachelor loves watching movies, hiking, attending live shows, and going on road-trips. A kid at heart he loves volunteering with kids, whether it’s being a referee for a basketball game or with his church as a Sunday school teacher.  He firmly believes that there is no such thing as “junk food” and that all food should be valued – except for salads. Ken says his guilty pleasure is listening to 90’s boy bands, including but not limited to N’Sync and 98 Degrees. And Ladies, he won first place in a male beauty pageant in high school so you know he is a catch. 

Luke Pfleger

  • General Manager, I Love Juice Bar      

  • Age: 30

  • Height: 6’4"

When you see Luke, the first thing you may notice is his height, his eyes, or even his clean cut hair style. However, if he had a choice between a buzz cut, pony tail or Mohawk, believe it or not, he’d choose a Mohawk! Luke has many talents and is proud to say that before the age of 30 he bought and flipped his first house. His friends describe him as fun, energetic, outgoing, and driven. But that’s not all – he has a big heart too.  He spends his free time volunteering with the Emerald Youth Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.

Matt McClung

  • Assistant District Attorney/Municipal Judge, State of Tennessee

  • Age: 32

  • Height: 5’10"

Matthew is not only dreamy but is also a dreamer. He’s currently an Assistant District Attorney but aspires to be either a fly-fishing guide or an astronaut! He can’t live without his dog Cormac (named after his favorite author), bourbon, and oxygen – in that exact order. The craziest thing he’s ever done? Going on a spontaneous road-trip without a real plan; he visited Montana, Utah, and California while living out of his car and couch-surfing.  

Mel Birdal

  • Outside Sales Director, AGM 

  • Age: 41

  • Height: 5’6"

This outgoing bachelor has a large heart, and aspires to treat people in the best way that he can every day! Mel is also very hard-working and has always had two jobs since he was a teenager. A word of advice - never try to hide a secret as he says he’s great at reading people and most people can’t hide their true feelings from him. Mel loves soccer, football, and poker. He admits he’s not perfect and doesn’t expect anyone to be (who is?).  He just wants people to be honest! Gotta love a guy like that!

Pat Joyce

  • Bar Manager, Sapphire

  • Age: 32

  • Height: 6’5"

Hailing from Boston, this tall handsome guy moved to East Tennessee as an AmeriCorps volunteer where he provided water quality education to two high schools and one middle school. Pat enjoys hanging out with his dog, relaxing with a cup of coffee, and having drinks with his friends at some of his favorite spots like Sapphire, Clancy’s and Echo Bistro. His friends describe him as loyal, loving, caring, and passionate.  This bachelor has some cool hobbies including building robots and making balloon animals.  

Pete Franzen

  • Police Officer, City of Knoxville

  • Age: 49

  • Height: 5'8"

This easy-going Florida-native has a big heart; especially when it comes to helping with the local Safe Haven basketball program to reach inner city youth, where he likes showing the kids another side of police officers. His guilty pleasures include ice cream and grade B horror films having just binged The Twilight Zone and recently reading The Shining.  Pete’s favorite hobbies are watching baseball, football and hockey. His ideal first date would be a nice dinner, followed by a – yep, you guessed it – baseball or hockey game

Rick Fields

  • Peripheral Clinical Specialist, Boston Scientific

  • Age: 44

  • Height: 6’2"

Rick is a Kentucky-native so it’s probably no surprise he loves UK basketball. His friends describe him as loyal, witty, and wildly enthusiastic about golf. He told us that if he ever got a hole in one he’s going streaking across the green in celebration. This aspiring movie and music critic enjoys acting and is involved in the creative team at Faith Promise Church. In addition, he enjoys running and going to concerts. When not on the greens, he enjoys spending time with his 15 year old son and his two pugs- Demetri and Mabel.


Stanley Barnett

  • Attorney, Gribble, Carpenter & Associates, PLLC             

  • Age: 59

  • Height: 5’8.5"

Stanley’s friends would describe him as funny, outgoing, surprisingly intelligent, and Southern. Usually what most people first notice about him are his dimples and his voice-he has sung at the Biltmore Estate almost three dozen times and he sings in his church choir! He even dreams of becoming a backup singer.   His interests include music, science fiction, hiking, and bicycling. His guilty pleasures include smoking cheap cigars and kettle chips.  This bachelor enjoys good conversation and discussing opposing views. 

Warren Pineda

  • Realtor, Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace

  • AGE: 28

  • HEIGHT: 6’1"

This motivated, hard-working businessman is more than meets the eye. He is musically inclined, creative, and can do a spot-on Jimi Hendrix impersonation. This bachelor aspires to be a one-man band, but be careful if he takes you to a show! He once lit a desk on fire on stage while playing a gig. When not performing he volunteers with Teaching to Eliminate Negative Stereotypes through Education (TENSE) because he wants to see the next generation be more educated. When asked what superpower he’d most like to have, he said “the power of healing.”