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Some frogs decide to sit out frog jumping competition


MASSENA - It was called a frog jumping contest, but in many cases it was more like a frog sitting competition during Thursday’s event at the Massena Arena.

The Massena Recreation Department’s 33rd annual “Boss Frog Jumping Contest” featured 40 contestants and, of those, 13 brought along frogs that either refused to budge or cross the finish line in the one minute time limit.

There were big frogs, small frogs and even the obligatory toad. But size didn’t matter when it came to hopping across the finish line. It depended on the motivation of the frog.

In the end, Jasmine Nezezon brought the winning frog, which raced to the finish line in 6.25 seconds in the finals. She was followed closely by Logan Chilton, whose frog finished in 6.66 seconds; Ashton Chilton, whose frog finished in 7.20 seconds; Bayley Rochefort, whose frog finished in 7.38 seconds; and Tyler Smutz, whose frog finished in 9.25 seconds.

Competitors were broken down into three age groups - 5 and under, 6 to 9, an 10 and over. The top five finishers in each group received a ribbon, and the top three in each division were also awarded a prize. The top three finishers in the Boss Frog Jump-Off receigved trophies.

All together, 17 youngsters signed up in the age 5 and under group. Of those, 11 couldn’t get their frog motivated enough to hop to the finish line. The top finisher in that age group was Brianna Lashomb, whose frog hopped to the finish line in 11.08 seconds. She was followed by Montana Nezezon (17.50 seconds), Cohen Lashomb (22.16 seconds), Alex Tarbell (22.38 seconds) and Aaden Tarbell (46.12 seconds).

Alex and Aaden’s mother, Laura Tarbell, said they brought one frog for the twins to share Thursday morning. But it wasn’t easy finding one to use in the competition, she said.

“They’re out in the pond every day. We did have a hard time finding them,” Ms. Tarbell said.

Alex and Aaden had also participated in last year’s event.

“Aaden got fifth last year,” she said.

The age 6 to 9 group had 18 participants, with the top time of 7.06 seconds being clocked by Tyler Smutz’s frog. He was followed by Bayley Rochefort (8.31 seconds), Lena Lashomb (8.40 seconds), Jasmine Nezezon (8.54 seconds) and Sydney Rochefort (8.67 seconds).

Tyler came prepared for the competition, bringing eight frogs with him in a container.

“I caught them all in the field in Louisville,” he said, estimating it took about an hour to round all of them up.

“We call them leopards,” he said.

Tyler said he had participated in the Massena frog jumping contest twice. He said it’s all up to the frogs as to how he finishes in the competition.

“I just bring them here,” he said.

The winner among the five contestants in the age 10 and over group was Anabella Perretta. Her frog crossed the finish line in 10.24 seconds, followed by Logan Chilton (10.8 seconds), Zach Labarge (10.82 seconds), Alayna Taraska (14.90 seconds) and Cole Bicknell (17.50 seconds).

The top 10 fastest times from all three groups combined moved on to the Boss Frog Jump-Off, where their frog started with a fresh slate. Two of those frogs declined to finish the race in the one minute limit.

In the end, it was Jasmine Nezezon’s frog that scurried the fastest to the finish line, winning her a trophy that will be on display at Laneuville’s Groceries and Bottle Redemption Center. Leonard Laneuville had purchased the special trophy for the contest and each year’s winner’s names are engraved on it. Jasmine’s name will join those of last year’s winner Lauren Laughman, the 2011 champ Alex Richards and the 2010 winner Wesley Rode.

Last year’s competition also included 40 children and their frogs, numbers that vary from year to year with an average of about 50 entrants. But, through all the years, the rules as explained by Summer Recreation Director Patrick Henrie have remained steady.

For instance, he said, frogs could only be prodded on by the youngsters and not an adult with them.

“If your parent wants to bring the frog out for the child, they’re welcome to do that,” he said, noting that once the frog is placed in the center of the ring, the parent must step back and let the child take over.

It’s also hands off once the frog is put down.

“Once you let it go, you can no longer touch the frog,” Mr. Henrie said.

Most important, he said, no foot stomping to avoid frog fatalities when trying to prod the frog to the finish line.

“You can blow on it, you can tap your hand, but no stomping,” he said.

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