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Cutest, woolliest creatures earn their finders cash

November 04, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- An old wives' tale says that woolly bears, the bristly caterpillars prominent in the fall, can be used to predict the severity of the upcoming winter, but for two local boys, the fuzzy critters heralded a different sort of windfall.

Christopher Rosenberry Jr., 10, of Hagerstown, and Danny Smith, 5, of Boonsboro, each won a $100 prize in The Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack's 25th annual woolly bear contest. Christopher's lively striped woolly bear was picked as "cutest and cuddliest" while Danny's plump black woolly bear was awarded "biggest and woolliest."

The runner-up for "cutest and cuddliest" was Jacob Fox, 4, of Hagerstown, and for "biggest and woolliest" was Landon Fulks of Boonsboro. Jacob and Landon each received $25 prizes.

The winners were picked from more than 200 woolly bears submitted to the contest this year, Almanack Business Manager Jerry Spessard said. That's up from 76 entries last year. Entries might have been easier to come across this year because the summer was not as dry as the summer of 2007, Spessard said.

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Christopher said he had no trouble finding woolly bears for the contest, and collected 20 or 30 of them from a hunting club in Hancock. He submitted them all to the contest, but he said he thought his winning entry was picked "because he was soft."

Danny said he found his thick prize-winner under the trampoline in his yard.

Danny said he planned to spend his $100 on toys but would share it with his siblings, Dylan, 3, Jenna, 9, and Joshua, 12, who helped with the woolly bear hunt. Christopher planned to spend his on video games, but added he might add "a couple dollars" to his savings.

As for the forecast, the woolly bears are indicating a harsh beginning to the winter and a mild second half, Spessard said. That matches the predictions made by Almanack weather prognosticator Bill O'Toole, who predicts the first major snowstorm will be around Thanksgiving weekend, Spessard said.

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