Martinsburg girl wins rotten sneaker contest

March 22, 1999

Rotten sneakerBy BRYN MICKLE / Staff Writer, Martinsburg

photo: Associated Press

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Walk a mile in her shoes? No thanks.

Chelsea Ours of Martinsburg, has garnered national attention for the rather unenviable accomplishment of owning the most rotten pair of sneakers in the world.

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The 11-year-old Potomack Intermediate fifth-grader won the 24th annual Odor-Eaters International Rotten Sneaker Contest held earlier this month in Montpelier, Vt.

Before moving to Martinsburg a few months ago, Chelsea spent about a year putting her watermelon-covered, slip-on Candies to the test in the hot desert of White Sands, N.M.


"Sometimes I wore socks. Sometimes I didn't," she said.

The result turned a run-of-the-mill pair of tennies into a ticket to national fame.

Chelsea and her mother, Cathy, flew to New York City last week for a Thursday morning appearance on "Fox Kid's News" and the opportunity to meet New York Giants running back Tiki Barber.

Bookended around the trip have been interviews with various journalists curious to learn the secret of Chelsea's victory over tennis shoes from as far away as Italy.

With the chance for her daughter to win a $500 savings bond and a year's supply of Odor-Eaters products, Cathy took the shoes down from their usual spot in a plastic bag on the top closet shelf to allow a team of judges to consider their shape and smell.

"A gasp went up when Chelsea's shoes came out of the bag," said Cathy, adding her daughter was still wearing them the week before the Vermont finals.

Mere frayed laces and torn toes were no match for Chelsea's shoes, and the victory, along with the Golden Sneaker Award, was hers.

"I think my mom was kind of embarrassed," said Chelsea.

Chelsea will hold onto the shoes until the publicity blitz ends, but then the fetid footwear will be sent back to Montpelier for a permanent home in the Odor-Eaters Hall of Fumes.

As for the future, Chelsea can no longer use the Odor-Eaters contest as an excuse for smelly shoes.

This is one contest where a single victory lasts a lifetime.

"I can't enter it anymore," Chelsea said. "Once you win, that's it."

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