COLUMBIA — Blue, green, black and gold decorations illuminated the stage at Friday night's Boone County Fair Baby Contest for boys, a sharp color contrast from the previous night of pinks.
“Tonight is all about the gentlemen,” announcer Nani Fudge said.
- Aiden Michael Riley
- Ryder Salter
- Landon Michael Nichols
- Jayson Lee Eskew
- Ashton Gregory Houlditch
- Jeyshan Ryel Scott
- Rey William Taggart
- Travis Anthony Barnett
- Ryan Tod Suhrbier
- Dallas Alan Hans
- Evan Ryan Martin
- Richard Lee Begemann Jr.
- Parker Salter
- Aliajah Palmer Griffith
- Brayden Matheney
- Cash Colton Kidd
- Jadon Wade Martin
- Zane Irwin
3- and 4-year-olds
- Bryson Carl Suhrbier
- Tyler Joe Gini
- Carter Salter
- Aiden Boyce
- Ashton Cole Kidd
- William Ryan Tyler Begemann
The 74 participants in this year's contest each prepared for their big night in different ways. Some sat with their families, being primped for competition, while others used the time to run around and be chased by their parents.
Charlene Abrams followed son Devin, 13 months, while he crawled across the floor as they waited for the 1-year-olds to be called on stage.
Abrams participated in baby contests when she was younger and put Devin in the contest because she thought it would be fun for him to do.
“Devin is very outgoing and likes to be around people,” Abrams said.
This is his second appearance at the baby show. He won third place in his division last year. He also participated in the “Hallsville Heritage Days” baby contest, where he won first place this past June.
Lisa Elkin, 21, whose 10-month-old son Braedin participated in the contest, was another parent with a past in fair contests. She participated in baby contests where she placed first and tried for queen at a Hallsville fair.
“I always said, when I have a kid, they will be in a baby contest for sure,” Elkin said.
Elkin, who was on stage with Braedin, says he is a very happy baby who likes to dance and clap his hands. “I have my work cut out for me. He might run off stage,” Elkin said.
Jessica Irwin, 20, had two sons participating in the contest, both in the 2-year-olds division. She might sign them up again next year, she said.
“My two sons have distinct personalities,” Irwin said. “Lakota is crazy, and he always wants to play because he is so curious, and Zane is more laid back.”
Her friend, Crystal Branch, cheered them on in the crowd and watched as Zane took sixth place.
There are several reasons why people are drawn to the baby contest, but the best part of the event is seeing all of the babies, event coordinator Terri McGrath said.
“I ran a day care for 24 years and took over this event four years ago,” McGrath said. “I just love babies.”