Claudia Nichols earned the title of Tomboy Sawyer for 2013 on July 6 by competing in five outdoor contests in this annual National Tom Sawyer Days event. Claudia, of Hannibal, also won the gunnysack race.
Adrya Nichelson of New London won second place. Adrya said she had practiced for the gunnysack race by using a blanket.
Andrea Altiser of Hannibal finished third and also won the watermelon seed spitting and the slingshot contests.
Winners of the other contests were Avery Hall of Lucas, Iowa, bubble gum blowing; Evie Rodenbaugh of New London, minnow catch; and Kari Schindler of Hannibal, costume.
One of the 24 contestants had no trouble finding a tomboy outfit for the costume judging. Olivia Clayton of Hannibal was wearing the old-fashioned pants and shirt made for her dad, Judge Robert Clayton III, when he was a finalist in the Tom and Becky contest in the early 1980s. Robert explained he still had it hanging in his closet.
Mayor Roy Hark, judge of the minnow catch, teased the girls about their difficulty of catching the slippery fish, but after they competed he was persuaded to try his hand, and he discovered it was not easy.
Most of the girls were from Hannibal, but two came from Iowa for a surprise birthday party. Avery Hall and her mother, Sarah Murphy Hall, came from Lucas, Iowa, and brought Avery’s friend, Macy Wood from Chariton, Iowa.
Sarah explained it was a surprise party for Avery, whose 10th birthday was the Fourth of July. Sarah is a Hannibal native, and had competed in Tomboy Sawyer “back in the ‘80s.” She said when she took the book, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” to Avery, “she couldn’t stop reading it.”
The Halls were visiting her parents, Jim and Sandy Murphy of Hannibal. The girls said the best thing they had done in Hannibal was touring Mark Twain Cave.
Another girl from Iowa was Jade Biting of Des Moines.
Additional contestants from Hannibal were Alexia Gonzalez, Kenlie Stroud, Jessica Voepel, Jillian Standbridge, Madison Moss, Rian Walters, Ashlee Shulse, Riley Stevenson, Kelsey Nickelson, Molly Broughton and Jaynee Durst.
Also from Missouri were Abigail Benning, New London; Alana Scranton, Monroe City; Emma Watkins, Palmyra; and Erica Crist, Germantown.
Diane Klersy, Tomboy Sawyer chairperson with the sponsor, the Business Women of Missouri - Hannibal Local, said “it was a great event and had a wonderful turnout, and the girls had fun.
“It was well-organized and went very well,” Klersy said. “I appreciate all our sponsors. We have a new permanent megaphone.”
For more pictures, see photo gallery on hannibal.net.