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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Dawson Walden on Nick program Oct. 17

  • Anyone watching the “Figure It Out!” television show on the Nickelodeon channel at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, will see Hannibal teen Dawson Walden stump the panel of celebrities - they could not guess he was a national fence painting champion.
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  • Anyone watching the "Figure It Out!" television show on the Nickelodeon channel at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, will see Hannibal teen Dawson Walden stump the panel of celebrities - they could not guess he was a national fence painting champion.
    Nickelodeon is on Channel 32 on the Charter cable company in Hannibal.
    "I stumped them," Dawson said. The panel had three rounds of asking him "yes" and "no" questions but could not guess what he did.
    After stumping the panel, he said, "I got to fence paint on the show. Me and two of the panelists got to fence paint." He had no trouble winning another fence painting.
    Dawson was invited to be a guest on the show after the network learned - via the Hannibal-Courier-Post - that he won the 2011 national fence painting contest. He was contacted several months ago, prior to the 2012 fence painting contest during National Tom Sawyer Days.
    "They have a Huck Finn Days in California and were googling children good at things," said Debbie Walden, Dawson's mother. "They saw the stories in the Courier-Post about him winning," and they contacted the family.
    At first Dawson and his family thought it could be a scam, because they were not familiar with this TV show. But after learning about it from the internet, his mother, Debbie, encouraged him to accept the invitation.
    The website says "What do you get when you have four celebrities and one super talented kid? Figure It Out! In this game a panel of celebrity judges has to guess a kid's bizarre and awesome talent by asking 'yes' or 'no' questions."
    Dawson decided he wanted to compete and submitted a video of his 2011 fence painting contest. After being accepted, his family waited several months for the date to go to California.
    Now age 13, Dawson is in eighth grade at Hannibal Middle School, and his favorite sports are football and baseball.
    The Nickelodeon studio paid for Dawson and his mom's three-day trip to Los Angeles, where the show is filmed.
    Once they arrived, Dawson said, he enjoyed "talking with some of the producers - they were really cool."
    People composing the four-person panel were stars of children's Nickelodeon shows. He had seen one show, when his 7-year-old sister, Macy, was watching it.
    The panelists were Kevin (portrayed by Christopher O'Neal) from the show, "How to Rock," and three from the show, "Victorious." They were Robbie (Matt Bennett), Sin Jin (Michael Reid) and Jade (Elizabeth Gillies).
    During the show, Dawson was covered with green slime, which he said was "really cold" and "really slimy."
    After the show the producer asked him how it felt and he said "it was amazing."
    He said he went to California believing he could stump the panel, and he is happy that he did.

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