The contest coincides with the common fall sightings of the woolly bear caterpillar, which can be seen on just about any road or sidewalk this time of the year.
It is said that certain characteristics of the caterpillar can be used to forecast the severity of the coming winter.
The Woolly Bear Caterpillar Contest was run by the Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack for 30 years, but almanac officials announced in September they were discontinuing it. When officials with the Hagerstown Suns — whose mascot is a caterpillar named Woolie B — heard the news, they felt it was their duty to continue the tradition.
The Suns, with help from the Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack, opened the contest in early October. On Monday, Suns officials announced the winners.
Marcus Manners, a student at E. Russell Hicks Middle School, won the prize for the “biggest and woolliest” caterpillar and 8-year-old Elysah Damico of Hagerstown took the prize for the smallest, “cuddliest” caterpillar.
Chris Sprecher, 4, won second place for “biggest and woolliest” caterpillar and Church Nursery Inc., a preschool on Oak Ridge Drive, won second place for the smallest, “cuddliest” caterpillar, said Kyle MacBair, director of marketing, media and community relations for the Suns.
Marcus and Elysah each won $100 cash, a Suns hat and other prizes.
Chris and Church Nursery Inc. won a variety of Suns memorabilia and other goodies.
Marcus and Chris were at the Hagerstown Suns office Monday afternoon to receive their prizes. They posed with Woolie B, which didn’t please Chris, who was afraid of the big, looming creature.
Marcus, 13, said he found his winning caterpillar on a porch at a friend’s house about a month ago.
Crystal Sprecher said her son’s caterpillar was given to him by a neighbor, who found it near a school bus stop.
The caterpillars were judged at the Suns office and set free, MacBair said.