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N.Y. Boy Wins Rotten Sneaker Contest

March 19, 2003

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) _ A New York boy walked away with the top prize of a $500 savings bond on Tuesday in the annual rotten sneaker contest

But ten-year-old Jeffry Soto says he’s not taking full credit for the sneakers, which stumped a judge in the ``heels″ category because they didn’t have any heels left.

The fifth grader says his pit bull helped make his entry the winner.

``I had a fight with my dog,″ said Soto, who lives in the Bronx, N.Y., and advanced from the local competition held there last November. ``I was trying to get it away from him because he uses it as a chew toy.″

The competition also included some international competition when an entry came in from the crew of the USS Montpelier submarine.

The sneaker arrived double-bagged from an undisclosed location in the Persian Gulf where the submarine is currently deployed. The shoe arrived with an unmistakable odor of fish.

Contestants are required to be under the age of 15, but contest organizers still gave the military shoe an honorary title of ``most rotten sneaker.″

``That’s a weapon of mass destruction right there,″ said commentator Dave Moody, who moderated the 28th annual contest.

The rotten sneaker contest began in 1975 as a way to help a local sporting goods store sell shoes.

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