Nine year old Sterling Brinkerhoff, from Benjamin, Utah, won the annual and 36th Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest on March 22 in Montpelier, Vermont. Brinkerhoff, who poses with his winning pair of rotten sneakers in the picture below, has won the grand prize of $2,500, a trip to New York City to see a Broadway show, the golden sneaker award and a year’s supply of much-needed Odor-Eaters products. Brinkerhoff's sneakers will also be enshrined in the Odor-Eaters Hall of Fumes.
The Rotten Sneaker Contest was originally conceived as a marketing gimmick, dreamed up by a Montpelier sporting goods store owner looking for a way to promote a new line of athletic shoes. In 1988, Combe Incorporated (the maker of Odor-Eaters products), stepped in and became title sponsor, raising the contest’s profile and lending it an air of legitimacy. Combe saw it as a unique vehicle for promoting Odor-Eaters insoles, powders, sprays and socks, all of which are designed to combat the embarrassing problem of foot odor.
Judge George Aldrich reacts after smelling a rotten sneaker in the annual Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest. One of the requirements of the contest is that each entrant wear his or her sneakers to the event. This is to minimize the chance that any sneakers will be doctored just prior to the judging. Most of the entrants report having worn their sneakers—without socks—virtually everywhere, even to bed.
Judge Rachel Herz smells a rotten sneaker.
Photos: Toby Talbot/AP
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