Cosmo EIC: ‘It’s a Bachelor Bailout!’

Cosmopolitan‘s Hottest Bachelor of 2008, Brad Ludden of Colorado, poses with his $10,000 prize

Cosmo EIC Kate White opened the mag’s “Hot Bachelors of 2008” celebration Tuesday night at New York nightclub Mansion with a welcome distraction from the economic crisis: eye candy! The 51 finalists (there was a first-ever tie in Michigan) strutted the runway state by state in what White called a “bachelor bailout,” flaunting their abs in anticipation of being named No. 1. During a Today show segment that morning featuring Kansas’ bachelor Michael Hooper, Pennsylvania’s Michael Koshzow, and Tennessee’s Dillon Heath (plus all the bachelors doing pushups on Rockefeller Plaza!), Heath missed his chance to use his favorite pickup line, so White invited him on stage to deliver it. He asked her, “Are you from Tennessee? ‘Cause you’re the only 10 I see.” Too bad the votes were already in. This year’s prize went to Brad Ludden, 27, a pro kayaker from Gypsum, Colorado. He pledged to donate the $10,000 to First Descents, a charity organization he founded to provide outdoor adventure experiences for young adults with cancer. Of his participation in the contest, he said that his favorite part was getting to know the other guys. When asked, he wouldn’t comment on who he’ll vote for in November, but he did declare, “I’m very proud to say I didn’t shave my back or chest [for this], though I may ‘manscape’ a little.” We wanted to know — what does America’s hottest bachelor read? “I’m guilty of glancing at Cosmo,” he admitted. “I’ve learned too many good things from it.” He said he reads the newspaper, publications in the kayaking vertical, and outdoor mags: “Anything with pictures.”

Lucky you — we’ve got shirtless photos and more after the jump…

On the guys posing without their shirts for the photo shoot, White said, “We never pressure them [to pose shirtless]. It’s a self-fulfilling thing.” White, who was a Glamour mag contest winner back in college, said she really picks up on the common denominators of the bachelors. They want “confident women who are really positive. They like women to make the first move, cut through the ambiguity and show that they’re interested, so [the guys] don’t look like jerks.” And what’s a bachelor’s strategy for landing a date? White said that Kansas finalist Michael Hooper uses the line, “How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice.”

Former Fugee Pras Michel and music business veteran Lydia Harris

Cosmopolitan‘s editor-in-chief Kate White poses with the bachelors

Cosmopolitan‘s editor-in-chief Kate White

The runway show

The runway show

Transporter 3 actress Natalya Rudakova chats with some bachelors near the bar

The bachelors hit the dance floor

New York bachelor Danny Marakovits, with Nicole Grozinski (L), HR associate at an investment bank; Pam Gruber, editorial assistant at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; and Jenny Rawdin, casting director, TRL.