State winner Jayden Donnelly is new National Fence Painting Champion.

By Bev Darr, Hannibal Courier-Post Reporter
Posted: Jul. 7, 2019 3:36 pm

State winner Jayden Donnelly, 13, of Columbia, won the National Fence Painting Championship on July 6 and will take the traveling trophy home to Columbia.

Second place went to local winner Landon Nichols, 10, and third to William Rolsen,10, of Lexington, S.C. The national contest had only three entries.

Despite this, the Hannibal Jaycees can plan to see increasing numbers of children compete in their annual fence painting contests during National Tom Sawyer Days, because a record 58 youngsters competed in the Peewee division for children ages 5 to 9 on July 5.

Several came from other states, including Luke Heggedal, 6, of Tampa, Fla., whose mother, Deidre (Shores) Heggedal, is a Hannibal native.

Winners of the Peewee contest were Piper Williams, 7, of Fenton, first; Caleb Puderbaugh, 9, of St. Charles, Iowa, second; and Logan Essig, 9, of Hannibal, third.

This was the first of three July 5 contests. It was followed by the girls' event with 13 contestants, then the local boys' contest with 11 contestants for ages 10 to 13.

Two local sisters, Sophia Vandiver, 12, and Natalie Vandiver, 9, competed, Natalie in the Peewee division and Sophia, the girls' contest. The latter resulted in the runoff , including Sophia and her cousin, Lauren Highfill.

Carlee McCoy, 10, won first place in the girls' contest; Alana Lemon, 12, second; and Lauren Highfill, 12, third. All three are Hannibal residents.

The local boys' contest was won by Landon Nichols, 10, which qualified him to compete in the National Championship. Second place went to Landyn Essig, 11, and third to Andrew Clark, 12.

Six boys competed in the state fence painting on Saturday, which preceded the National Championship.

Jayden Donnelly, 13, of Columbia, won first place to qualify for the national contest.

Second place went to Phillip Ryan, 11, of O'Fallon, and third to Finn McQuire, 11, of Jefferson City.

Additional contestants were Thomas Moore, 10, of New London; Mark McGuire, 10, of Jefferson City; an Logan Rosenbery, 13, of Fenton.

After the National Championship, the last official fence painting was the over-30 event. Burt Walker, 38, of Hannibal, won, and later reported he also won in 2018. His competitors were Carol Crooks of Webster Grove, Chris White of Hannibal, Valerie Murdock of St. Charles, Joe Mickels of Hannibal, Jamie Donnelly of O'Fallon, James Alcock of Toronto, Canada, and Mark McGuire of Jefferson City.

Small Town Big Deal

program filmed in Hannibal

A special fence painting contest featured Jann Carr and Rodney Miller, co-hosts of the CBS-TV program, Small Town Big Deal. Miller won the contest. They and their cameramen, Tony Hope and Drew Gressard, were in Hannibal for three days to film National Tom Sawyer Days for a program they expect to be aired in the fall. They interviewed the new Tom and Becky, and had attended the parade, Mark Twain Museum, Mark Twain Cave and Mark Twain Riverboat. The show airs at 5:30 a.m. Sundays on KHQA-TV. Additional details and schedules are on smalltownbigdeal.com.

The final fence painting was not judged but gave former and current Toms and Beckys a chance to paint the fences.

On both Friday and Saturday new Toms and Beckys helped judge the fence painting. On Friday they were Josiah Campbell and Jocelyn Dorsey, and on Saturday they were the official Tom and Becky, Preston Danner and Lanie Privett. Saturday's judges included Hannibalian Taylor Stratton, who is Miss Title Town Teen, and Ella Goldinger of the Miss Hannibal Pageant staff.

Fence painting emcee Brian Hammock reported the fences, made with wood donated by Home Depot, were to be sold by auction after the contests. The short fences used by the Peewee group were sold July 5, with the taller ones saved to be used again July 6.

Hammock announced the proceeds would be donated to the 2x4 For Hope company, a fence painting sponsor. The 2x4 staff reported they build homes for veterans, and recently completed two in Quincy, Ill., and one in Mount Sterling, Ill. Hammock encouraged people to donate $3 to this group for a signed board to go into a home.

Assisting Jaycee members at the fence painting were two officers from St. Charles, Missouri Jaycees Vice President Jennifer Smith and Missouri Jaycees Treasurer Matt Smith, who explained they were free to help in Hannibal this year because their Riverfest area was under water.

Hannibal Jaycee Rhonda Stevenson, who is a state Jaycees senator, was handling the signup sheets for the fence painters, helping Amy Allen, fence painting chairperson.

See photo gallery for more pictures.





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