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County fair baby contest puts children center stage

Friday, July 24, 2009 | 12:55 a.m. CDT; updated 9:57 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 24, 2009
Aryah NayShawn Moore wins in the 3-year-old category during the Boone County Fair girls baby contest on Thursday. Her mother, LaTonya Douglas, had Moore compete in the Cooper County competition before, and on her first Boone County appearance took home first place.

COLUMBIA — Parents were ready to show judges why their child was better than the rest at the Boone County Fair’s Baby Contest for girls Thursday night.

“Everybody’s baby is the cutest, right?” said Sue Simpson, whose daughter, Jaidyn, 15 months, competed in the contest.

Babies were entered into one of four categories: infants and ages 1, 2 and 3 to 4. The judges made their decisions based on personality, appearance and proper play clothes. Each baby was given a pinwheel when they were called up on stage.

Ninety-seven babies were entered into the contest this year.

INFANTS

Cory Fullerton and his father waited among the crowd for the contest to begin. His daughters Cydney, 3, and Camryn, 7 months, were both participants in the baby contest.

Unfortunately, Camryn had not been feeling well for the last couple of days.

“Her mother and grandmother put her in the contest and she wasn’t sick then,” Fullerton said. “Hopefully she won’t be crying onstage.”

Fullerton took his daughter onstage because her mother was in class and would not be at the event.

Tom Fullerton, grandfather, joked that the two women who signed the children up for the contest were not even here.

“We were just thinking about how we didn’t want to do this: ‘How did we get here?’” Fullerton said, laughing. “But it’s funny and cute.”

Camryn placed third.

1 YEAR OLD

Sofia Littell, 20 months, playfully moved around the crowds with her family before the start of the contest. She has never been in a baby contest, and her family was very excited for her.

Sofia was not like most of the girls participating; she is in a wheelchair from a prenatal injury.

“When Sofia was still in the womb, she had a stroke in her spinal canal,” said Tracey Littell, her mother. “She is not paralyzed, but she is very weak in the legs.”

Despite her injury, Sofia and her mother were keen on getting her onto the stage, which lacks a ramp.

Event coordinator Terri McGrath acknowledged the lack of accommodation for those who are disabled and said that it would be up to the board to change that for the future.

When it was time for 1-year-olds to go onstage, her mother lifted Sofia and her wheelchair onto the stage.

Shirley Summerfield, Sofia’s grandmother, was in the crowd cheering on her granddaughter.

“She is very animated and wheels like a pro,” Summerfield said.

On stage, Sofia waved to the

crowd while she chewed on her pinwheel and even wheeled herself to a neighboring participant. She was called back onstage and awarded fourth place.

2 YEARS OLD

Kayla Scofield was a proud mother of two babies at the contest.

Originally from Colorado, Scofield is an MU student who entered her two daughters, Haley, 4, and Cassidy, 2.

She submitted the girls for the contest for the fun of it, she said.

“Haley wanted to be in Little Miss Boone County, but she is too young,” Scofield said. “This is a good substitute.”

Cassidy was up on stage with her mother and bouncing around to impress the judges. Her blonde pigtails were shaking as she moved to the song, “London Bridge is Falling Down.”

Haley was near the stage taking pictures, and as the music ended and the judges made their decision, Cassidy was called back and awarded second place.

Her sister Haley placed sixth in her category.

3 & 4 YEARS OLD

Dressed in a denim cowgirl outfit with boots, Hailey, 4, came with her mother Angie Teeple.

She participated alongside 21 other children in this category. She has been participating in the contest since she was an infant; this will be her fourth year.

“The competition was just a pastime for us,” Teeple said. “She has been wearing dresses all week and told her day care that she was in a baby contest and would be gone for the week.”

There is no doubt that Hailey has lots of enthusiasm for the baby contest, but the same cannot be said for her brothers Tim and Josh, who have watched her in past years.

“I’m more of an active person, and we have to sit here for a long time to see her compete,” oldest brother Tim, 11, said.

As her age division drew nearer, her brother noted that she was up next. She was anxious to get onstage and excitedly led her mother by the hand. In the end, her number was not called.

The Baby Contest for boys will take place at the Boone County Fair on Friday night at 6 p.m.

 


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