'It's just fun:' Baby Crawl event delights at Saskatoon Family Expo

Dozens of some of Saskatoon's fastest fledgling infants took over Prairieland Park Saturday to be cr...

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Dozens of some of Saskatoon's fastest fledgling infants took over Prairieland Park Saturday to be crowned the Baby Crawl champion.

While it may not be the Daytona 500, the BabyCrawl 500 (officially titled Baby Crawl) at the Saskatoon Family Expo featured some of the most competitive racing to happen on all fours, exclusively for infants under the age of one who are unable to walk.

"Everyone is out here having a good laugh," Lindsay Sanderson, the judge and host of Saturday's Baby Crawl, said. "It's just fun."

The BabyCrawl 500 has all the features one would expect of a stock car race -- the emotion, the drama and even the sporting miracles fit for the big screen.

During one heat on Saturday, one rug rat decided to put an end to the crawling and used those moments to take her first steps. However, the only prize for such an achievement in this event is disqualification.

"This is a baby crawl and not a baby walk," Sanderson said. "I always tell parents you win a new prize. You get to go home and baby-proof a whole new area of your house."

These high-performance athletes have yet to master verbal communication, which leaves parents and guardians finding more inventive ways to coax a performance of a lifetime out of these athletes. Some parents opted for dangling an old extension cord, a colourful coffee cup or the ever-popular iPhone in front of their youngster, hoping it could be just enough to get their child to cross the finish line first.

Cailen Musselman and Lauren Cuzner's baby Arbor took to mom's phone and the cat's food bowl as his secret to success in winning his heat.

"We didn't actually think he had any kind of shot because he usually doesn't listen to anything we say," Cuzner said.

Musselman had a more comprehensive race review.

"It was a shaky start. He did a little U-turn there but he pulled it together in the end," he said.

Other babies like Nichole Pereira's little one, Luke, succumbed to the pressure under cheers from dozens of onlookers and didn't make it far from the start line.

"He was a little spooked by the crowd. He is used to the quieter lifestyle," Pereira said.

Many of the babies on Saturday had trouble getting off the start line, something Sanderson remembers all too well when her youngster competed in a baby crawl. Before the tears and screams begin, Sanderson offered a tip she's crafted after her many hours judging baby crawls.

"You gotta know when to just call it," she said. "(My son) just sat at the end and cried, and we just gave up. Some babies, it's just not their jam -- and some babies are going to go. Just have some fun with it."

The BabyCrawl 500 prize was a gift basket courtesy of Waman Physiotherapy but the alternate prize for these remote-chewing athletes was the bragging rights that go along with being champion, especially after the expo was unable to be organized since 2020 because of the pandemic.

"My heart is so full seeing this room full," Sanderson said. "There is such an extraordinary family and parenting community in Saskatoon. It's incredible." 

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