“Being Goofy at Disney” — Disney is magical and fun...even shopping for the perfect souvenir hat! Photo by Heather Garrard

Archived Story

Goofy end to photo contest

Published 7:20pm Sunday, January 22, 2012

Leader Publications asked readers to give us their best shot, and they delivered.

Readers submitted more than 250 approved photos in the company’s online photo contest, which ran from Dec. 7 to Jan. 1.

Readers voted for their favorites Jan. 2-15 and, from that voting period, three winners were chosen.

Heather Garrard’s photo received the most votes and a $200 prize. Erika Kirtdoll wins $50 for her second place photo and Tammy Brooks $50 for her third place photo.

Here is what the winners had to say about their photos:

‘Being Goofy at Disney’

Heather Garrard

Nine-year-old Nolan Garrard didn’t know his mother, Heather Garrard, of Niles, was going to enter a picture of him wearing a Goofy hat into Leader Publications’ photo contest.

When Nolan found out about it, he wasn’t happy.

“He told me the photo had better win because it was so embarrassing,” Heather said.

“Then everyday he kept asking if he was getting votes.”

Nolan’s brief embarrassment paid off as Heather’s photo took first prize in the photo contest.

The photo was taken during a family trip to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., in December 2011.

Nolan was trying on hats at a gift shop when Heather snapped the photo. She liked the picture so much that it is hanging on a wall in their home.

“That is Nolan’s spirit right there,” Heather said. “His personality is a very fun-loving, outgoing child.”
Heather, Nolan, Nolan’s sister, Emerson, father, Kevin, and grandmothers, Barb Garrard and Janice White, went on the trip.

Nolan attends Howard Elementary, while Emerson is at Ellis. Heather is a sales representative for a hair product company, and Kevin is a project manager for an appliance company.

Barb Garrard is a retired Howard principal, and White volunteers at Ellis.

‘On a Mission’

“On a Mission” — he Kirtdoll brothers, Acie 4, Beau 3 and Ceon 1 year, 7 months, hiking up Sioux Trail...destination "possibilities unlimited" (aka the Ballard playground). Photo by Erika Kirtdoll

Erika Kirtdoll

Erika Kirtdoll, of Niles, never planned on taking a photo when she and her three boys — Acie, 4, Beau, 3, and Ceon, 1 — went for a walk on a sunny day in July 2011.

They were walking on Sioux Trail toward Ballard when Erika saw an image she wanted to capture.

“It was such a random shot,” said Kirtdoll, who works for a CPA firm in Niles. “It could be anybody’s kids, the way they are walking in the street like they own the neighborhood.

“I thought of all the possibilities, like the road stretching out in front of them. They were endless. They looked so small compared to the road.”

Erika used the image, which was taken on her cell phone, for the family’s Christmas card. She said she received more compliments on that photo than on any photo she has ever taken.

Erika is married to Timmy. Both are lifelong Niles residents.

‘Tony Books Keeping the Arts Alive in Dowagiac’

“Tony Brooks keeping the arts alive in Dowagiac” — Tony Brooks practicing his music for Jazz Band for the Dogwood festival in Dowagiac held every May for all Fine Arts, (music, dance, books, poetry, drama, art work of all kinds just to name a few). Taken in Dowagiac at empty building across the street from his home on 405 East Prairie Ronde St. Dowagiac. Picture Taken by Mom with out his knowledge as he was deep in thought. Photo by Tammy Brooks

Tammy Brooks

Tammy Brooks, of Dowagiac, was looking out her kitchen window when she saw her 17-year-old son, Tony, playing guitar on the steps of a vacant building on East Prairie Ronde Road.

She grabbed a camera, got in her car and drove as if she was leaving the area. Instead of leaving, Tammy parked near the building where her son was playing and took his photo without him knowing.

The result was a photo she said captures the essence of her musical son.

“Anyone that knows Tony would tell you that this picture is him. He is always carrying around a guitar and always playing,” she said. “That day, you could’ve thrown a rock at him and he wouldn’t have known, he was so deep in the music.”

Tony is a senior at Dowagiac High School and is dual-enrolled at Southwestern Michigan College.

Tammy said Tony has since cut off his hair for senior photos. The photo was taken spring of 2011.

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