Newspaper: Baby Crawl-A-Thon dispute threatens Lakeville tradition

Pan-O-Prog, the neat Lakeville annual celebration that marks the opening of an industrial park years ago, nearly went off without a hitch this year until 10-month-old Berkley Bailey crossed the finish line in a baby-crawling race and was disqualified, a local newspaper says.

The rules require babies to crawl on their hands and knees across the finish line, Sun Newspapers says.

But Berkley doesn’t crawl like other kids, the report claims. She pulls herself forward with her left side, drags her leg behind her, and lifts her right arm in the air.

So she was disqualified for not crawling.

That didn’t go over well with mom.

“That’s the only way we’ve ever seen our baby crawl,” she said. “That’s all she’s ever done. The doctor told us it was a crawl.”

It’s the second year in a row that controversy crept into the race. Last year a kid crawled on hands and feet and was tossed out.

“When you do it that way, you are a speedster,” Pan-O-Prog President Diana Neameyer told the paper. No speedsters allowed. Disqualified.

This year, they allowed eligibility for a baby who “army crawled” by pulling himself forward with his arms because his knees were on the floor and he was using his legs.

“His belly was just dragging, that’s how I looked at it,” Neameyer said.

A suggestion to hold a special race for scooters was rejected, because Neameyer said organizers do not think they will have many who only scoot.

“We thought it was just a fluke that this kid wasn’t crawling,” Neameyer said.

Moore said Berkley is the first child to her and husband Nick Bailey, both lifelong Lakeville residents.

“It’s not necessarily like, oh my God, we needed her to win,” Moore said. “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.”

She said many family members took time off work to watch the competition, then were disappointed that Berkley was disqualified.

“It just kind of stunk because everyone was so excited about it,” Moore said. “I didn’t think it was fair to disqualify a baby for crawling differently.”

Organizers are ready to get rid of the event.

“If it gets to be a real issue, we’ll just cancel it. It’s not worth our hassle and stress to try to appease everyone,” Neameyer said.