CAMP PENDLETON — More than 20 babies traded in their bibs and bottles for running shoes during the Marine Corps Community Services Diaper Derby at Camp Pendleton’s Mainside shopping center, Aug. 13.
During the Diaper Derby, infants between the ages of 6 months and 1 year competed in a 10-foot race to the finish for the chance to win a free box of diapers and a Marine Corps Exchange gift card.
Before the first whistle blew, parents of each competitor held their babies at the starting line. The other parent waited at the end and urged the crawler to come holding favorite stuffed animals or bottles and binkies — anything to persuade the baby athletes to cross the finish line.
“This was absolutely a blast,” said Leslie McNeil, mother of a baby competitor. “(Marine Corps Community Services) puts on so many events for the families here on base. It’s just really great to be a part of an event intended for our families’ littlest members.”
The winners of this year’s Diaper Derby were 7-month-old Gunnar Kaneta; 8-month-old Bently Koenneker; 10-month-old Jesse Jones and 9-month-old Logan Jones.
“All the babies did outstanding,” said Staff Sgt. Tom Parsons, an ordnance maintainer with 1st Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group. “It’s safe to say that our competitive nature as Marines has been passed down to our kids.”
Just as everyone thought the competition was over, the parents were called to the stage to participate in an apple juice drinking contest out of a bottle. The winners took home MCX gift cards.
“It was so fun seeing the parents get involved in the contest,” McNeil said. “This event was something the whole family could enjoy.”
Although very many tears were shed, each competitor left with a free t-shirt and toy to show that even though they did not finish first, they were all still winners.