Even the panel of “odor specialists” resisted the urge to cover their noses as pungent smells emanated from the smelliest sneakers in this year’s Annual National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest.
Ready to be judged, seven kids, ages seven to sixteen, from across the country arrived in Montpelier Tuesday, selected as national finalists, wearing the decrepit and odorous rubber-soles that won them regional recognition.
In its 37th year, the National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest is the ultimate test of just how dirty and stinky sneakers can get when they’re part of an active kid’s life, going where they go, through puddles, mud and all.
Sneakers are judged on the conditions of the sole, tongue, heel, toe, laces or velcro, eyelets/grommets, overall condition and most important odor, by a panel that includes NASA “Master Sniffer” George Aldrich, chemical specialist for NASA space missions, and Rachel Herz, Ph.D., a professor at Brown University and author of The Scent of Desire and That’s Disgusting.
This year, Mason Bennett was the grand prize winner of $2,500, out-stinking other contestants from Kennesaw, GA, Fenton, MI, Dundee, IL, Las Cruses, NM, West Bountiful, UT and Montpelier, VT.
The Champion confessed that his sneakers got dirty and smelly because he plays a lot of soccer. He also does fishing, hiking, and dip netting…and he just has naturally stinky feet.
He also received an all-expense paid trip to New York City to see the Broadway show The Lion King, the Golden Sneaker Award, a trophy, and a supply of Odor-Eaters products to kick out the odor from his sneakers.
Although the maker of Odor-Eaters products sponsors the contest, it’s clear that the contestants keep the product far from their worn and torn warriors submitted for judging.
Mason’s sneakers will also be enshrined in the Odor-Eaters “Hall of Fumes” in Montpelier, VT.