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Livestock Stalls the Secret to Girl’s Scent-sational Sneakers

March 21, 1992

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) _ Meghan Mackey of Chugiak, Alaska, how did you get such smelly sneakers?

″I scooped my pony’s poop,″ said Mackey, 8, who beat out 11 other fetid footwear finalists on Friday to win the 17th annual International Rotten Sneaker Contest.

Mackey, a shy, soft-spoken girl who lives about 20 miles north of Anchorage, said mucking out the family’s livestock stalls contributed most to the stench of her tattered sneakers.

″They’re gross,″ said Mackey, whose five toes on her left foot stuck through a hole in the end of her sneaker. She clutched a championship trophy nearly half her size as she sat on the stage of the Montpelier Recreation Center.

Her smelly sneakers will earn her a spot on NBC’s Today Show, along with 14-year-old runner-up Jonathan Heafitz of Swampscott, Mass.

″It takes a lot of guts to come up here,″ Heafitz said. ″I don’t think it’s anything to brag about.″

Smelly sneakers seem to run in Heafitz’ family. His mother, Lesley Heafitz, was a judge in the competition. His brother, David, won last year’s Massachusetts rotten sneaker finals.

And how did Jonathan season his sneakers for that, uh, sweet smell of success?

″I use them as brakes on my bike,″ he said. ″And I wear them a lot.″

The competition’s judges included Dr. Herbert Lapidus, inventor of Odor- Eaters, which sponsored the annual contest for children under 18.

Other judges were Pat Pugh (yes, that’s pronounced ″pew″) and Montpelier Mayor Ann Cummings, who said she qualified as a judge because she has ″four children with smelly feet and rotten sneakers.″

Cummings said Mackey’s shoes were a clear winner.

″Those heels were stiff with Alaskan mud and it smells much worse than Vermont mud,″ she said.

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