HANNIBAL | Evan Dalton, 12, of Hannibal, had been competing in local fence painting contests during National Tom Sawyer Days since he was 9 years old, before being named 2020 National Fence Painting Champion on July 4.
Before the national event, he won the local contest on July 3, defeating seven other Hannibal boys. Runners-up in that event were Landyn Essig, 12 and Logan Essig, 10.
On July 4, Evan had only one opponent in his final contest, because the national contest had only two entries: Evan and state winner Finnian McGuire, 12, of Jefferson City.
In the state contest earlier July 4, Finnian McGuire's runners-up were Phillip Ryan of Wentzville, second place; and Charles McGuire, Finnian's brother.
The McGuire family was even more involved – the boys' dad, Mark McGuire, won the over 30 contest on the Fourth of July, later explaining he had not missed a Hannibal Tom Sawyer Days in Hannibal for many years.
Prior to the three July 4 fence painting contests, the Hannibal Jaycees were busy on July 3 with the first three contests.
The peewee contest for ages 5 to 9 attracted the most contestants, with 26, although this was much fewer than last year, according to Ashley Veach, Jaycees board president, who was busy enlisting contestants and keeping track of the winners.
Peewee winners were Jace Underhill, first; Caleb Johnson, second; and Colbi Janes, third.
The girls' fence painting winners were Aubrielle Krigbaum, first; Sophie Vandiver, second; and Lily Long, third. The girls' contest was part of their Tomboy Sawyer contest. (See separate article).
Hannibal boys competing, in addition to the finalists, were Andrew Clark, Jay Arnold, Jay Talbot, Brady Talbot and Wyatt Terril.
Veach was glad to report that only two Tom Sawyer Days events had been cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. They were the Arts and Crafts Festival in Central Park and the tricycle race.
Other events had made changes, Veach added. “We appreciate everybody's patience, hard work and patronage, as we modified in efforts to make them safe.”
A photo gallery of fence painting winners will be posted later.