Judges score babies on personality, appearance, smiles

Saturday, July 28, 2012 | 8:19 p.m. CDT; updated 2:07 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 29, 2012
Infants were judged at the Boone County Fair Baby Contest on Saturday. The babies were judged on health, appearance and personality.

COLUMBIA — For those children hoping to be judged the cutest baby at the Boone County Fair, crying wasn't an option.

Of course, the infants were forgiven if they occasionally drooled.

Contest winners



First place: Debra Kramer

Second place: Raylea Sidwell

Third place: Sawyer Campbell

Fourth place: Bonnie Merritt

Fifth place: Olivia dLatham

Sixth place: Addison Heckmaster and Mika Snelling


First place: Berkeley Robinson and Chloe Mullings

Second place: Gracelyn Wiecken

Third place: Lexi Harrison

Fourth place: Abigail Green

Fifth place: Ashley Quinn

Sixth place: Brooklyn Mathews


First place: Marley Delgado

Second place: Ailyn Ballenger

Third place: Le’Reigha Morse

Fourth place: Anastasia Jones


First place: Audri Weioster

Second place: Abigail Gilleland

Third place: Annabelle Berendzen

Fourth place: Rosa-Lynda Lozano

Fifth place: Maria Rodriguez Pedroza


First: Morgan Hubbard

Second: Trinity Summers

Third place: Nadia Harding

Fourth place: Chiasia Edward



First place: Aston Dennison

Second place: Drezden Fitzpatrick

Third place: Riley Jasenowski

Fourth place: Andrew Wilson

Fifth place: Keigan Lewis

Sixth place: Cooper Brooks


First place: Carlitos Pedroza

Second place: Micah Hubbard Jr.

Third place: Tristan Green

Fourth place: Chase Crocker

Fifth place: Wyatt Glass


First place: Alandis Maxwell

Second place: Liam Colombo


First place: Logan Green

Second place: Jayson Eskew

Third place: Troy Johnson Jr.

Fourth place: William Grus


First place: Benjamin Webster

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More than 50 children participated in the annual Boone County Fair Baby Contest on Saturday, and each had to bring their A-game to impress this year's judges.

Next to a ham display lining the wall, 24 boys and 33 girls took to the stage in front of a bright blue curtain to ham it up in their own way for the contest.

Six judges judged the infants mostly on personality and appearance. Their dress had to be clean, functional and appropriate, and the children needed to be happy, playful and smiling.

The children were scored on three criteria: Health, personality and appearance. Each was worth five points. A sauce stain on their shirt or a tear-filled hissy fit was a sure way to lose points.

"It sounds mean, but we have to draw a line somewhere," said event organizer Becca Schranck. "We have to come up with ways to judge them or else we are going have a bunch of ties."

The baby contest has been at the fair since at least the 1960s, Tracy Mulligan, a Boone County Fair event organizer, said. Each year, a volunteer from the community is selected to run the event and chooses a brand new panel of judges. 

"We don't have any criteria. We just look for people who are interested in helping the Boone County Fair," Mulligan said. "We look out for people who are interested in doing it."

Most judges have never judged a contest like this before, and each has a different definition of cuteness.

"It's kind of a tough situation to be in," Mulligan said. "All the kids are cute. It's just a matter of personal opinion. There is no one specific thing that makes one a winner from the rest."

Although judge Ashton Rhine liked the kids dressed in cowboy boots the most, judge Josh McKinley enjoyed the kids with crazy hairstyles. 

"I rocked the Mohawk for a little while so I had a bias," McKinley said.

McKinley and the other judges certainly didn't hold it against little Alandis Maxwell Jr. for trying to throw a small yellow football at their heads. The 2-year-old went on to win first place in his age division.

While on stage, Alandis immediately grew a wide smile, giggled with delight and ran straight to a box full of small toys at the front of the stage.

Alandis also won first place as an 11-month old. The most memorable moment of that contest was when he took his first steps on stage.

"That was the first time I've ever seen him take a step," his father Alandis Maxwell Sr. said. "I wasn't holding him up."

Alandis didn't manage to stay awake when his sister, Chiasia Edward, won fourth place in the 4-year-old girls division.

To make the competitions fair, the contest is split into five age divisions. The youngest children are infants, and the oldest are 4 years old. The judges recognized the top six children in each division.

The children were required to be dressed in play clothing. No frills, big bows, hats, sunglasses or props were allowed.

As the babies took the stage or crawled on the linoleum floor while waiting for their turn, their family members sat in rows of metal folding chairs cheering and waving.

Annabel Stober, 89, drove two hours from Kirksville just to see her 10-month-old great-granddaughter, Raylea Sidwell, compete.

"I don't have many years left," Stober said. "I've got to come up any time I can."

Raylea won second place as Stober and the rest of her family cheered her on.

But it was the Dennison family hollering the loudest when their 9-month-old Aston Dennison took first place in his age division.

"We are always the loudest group cheering," father Josh Dennison said.

When his mother, Brooke Dennison, carried Aston off the stage with his first-place ribbon, his father and 6-year-old brother Alec Dennison were the first to run up and congratulate him.

"Good job, Ashton," Alec said, before running back to play with younger sister, Addie Dennison.

Now each of the Dennison family's three children has won first place in the infants division.

"We feel very, very lucky to have such beautiful babies," Brooke Dennison said.

At the end of the contest, not every parent could feel that lucky. But no matter the results, each child walked away with a ribbon and a goodie bag, filled with coloring books, bubbles, plane gliders, rulers, crayons and other knick-knacks.

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