“It feels like I'm dreaming,” said Nathan Lewton, shortly after he and Ashlyn Nichols learned they were the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce's new Tom and Becky for 2013-2014.
"It feels like I'm dreaming," said Nathan Lewton, shortly after he and Ashlyn Nichols learned they were the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce's new Tom and Becky for 2013-2014.
"I'm shocked," Ashlyn said. She received her new title with a kiss from the retiring Tom, Lucas Kline. Nathan received his kiss from retiring Becky, Brooke Burton.
As the Tom and Becky Pageant in Central Park concluded, the winners were interviewed. Both said they are most looking forward to the traveling they will do for the next 12 months, including going to California, where Ashlyn has never yet visited.
Nathan added, "I have family in California and they are looking forward to seeing me when we go to the Huckleberry Finn Jubilee."
Ashlyn said, "I am looking forward to all my experiences, all the travel and in Hannibal."
During the speeches made by each of the 10 finalists prior to the announcement of the winners, Ashlyn treated the crowd to a solo, singing "I've Got a Dream."
Each of the finalists voiced special thanks to several people who had helped them prepare for the contest, including putting together their outfit to be Tom or Becky.
Nathan and several other boys thanked Michael O'Cheltree of Native American Trading Co. for providing moccasins for the boys. Several boys and girls also thanked God for this opportunity.
Additional Tom and Becky finalists were Keaton Bartz, John Fowler, Cooper Lewis, Ayden Nichols, Emilee Carleton, Olivia Clark, Hannah Laws and Shelbie Mays.
Although Nathan and Ashlyn are the official Tom and Becky, each of the finalists will serve as alternates all year, making various appearances at local events.
Before the new Tom and Becky were announced, Lucas and Brooke, along with the eight retiring finalists, shared some of their experiences.
Brooke reported one special moment was the recent reopening "of my house" - the Becky Thatcher House operated by the Mark Twain Museum, where she did the ribbon cutting.
To make up for this special event involving her, Brooke gave Lucas an opportunity to cut a ribbon at the Tom and Becky Pageant, marking the ending of their reign. He was joined on stage by California's current Huck Finn, Logan Knight.