Controversy at Lakeville crawl-a-thon as tot is disqualified for scooting


The old adage is we should learn to walk before we can run, but a 10-month-old baby in Lakeville was penalized for scooting before she could crawl.

A baby crawl-a-thon at Lakeville's annual Pan-O-Prog festival is perhaps the most unlikely of places to find controversy, but the decision to disqualify one baby for "scooting" over the finish line has now attracted national attention.

The SunThisWeek reports that tot Berkley Bailey crossed the line first in her heat, only to fall foul of rules that babies had to crawl on their hands and knees across the line – which Pan-O-Prog President Diana Neameyer said was to give "everyone a level playing field."

But Berkley's mom, Samantha Moore, was upset with the decision, saying her first-born has always crawled by pulling herself forward on one side, and dragging her other leg behind her.

"That's the only way we've ever seen our baby crawl," she told the newspaper. "That's all she's ever done. The doctor told us it was a crawl."

This year's Pan-O-Prog, which according to MPR News started as a celebration of the opening of a new industrial park in Lakeville many years ago, ran between July 2-12 and featured a wide range of events including the crawl-a-thon, with the showpiece grand parade held on Saturday, July 11.

The controversy at the crawl-a-thon has caught the eye of several notable media outlets, among them the Mail Online and Deadspin.

The SunThisWeek notes there was a disqualification in last year's event as well, where a baby "crawled like a bear" using his hands and feet – which Neameyer said made them "a speedster." The rules allow only for conventional crawls and "army crawls."

And Deadspin, in its usual tongue-in-cheek manner, backed Nemeyer's stance, saying:

As Americans, I think you can agree that all we ask for in our rule making bodies is consistency, whether we are talking about the NBA or the Supreme Court. And however unpopular her position, Neameyer is being consistent. The army crawl clearly uses the hands and knees, while both the scoot and the bear crawl do not. While this rule may be arbitrary, aren’t all rules ultimately arbitrary? And at least this one is applied consistency.

Unfortunately, the uptick in challenges to the crawling rules, as well as the other problems I imagine beset the Crawl-A-Thon—steroids, arrests for crawling under the influence, legal challenges—seems to have worn Neameyer down.

Moore was a little more exasperated, saying to SunThisWeek: "It's not necessarily like, oh my God, we needed her to win. It’s just a baby crawl. It was more like she did really good and we didn’t really expect her to go that fast, but she did and then we’re disqualified."

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