MASSENA — There were some big jumpers at the Massena Arena for the annual Boss Frog Jumping Contest on July 18.
Out of 36 participating frogs, only three failed to cross the finish line in the 45-second time limit.
On the flip side, the winning frog brought in by Jason Dubray, 9, jumped to the finish line in 4.84 seconds in the finals, crowning him as the 2019 Boss Frog champion. As the winner, his name will be emblazoned on a traveling trophy that stood nearly his height.
Jason’s sister, Jordan, 11, had won the competition in 2017, and competed again this year in the age 10 and over category, finishing first in that division.
Other first-place finishers for their division were Parker Taraska in the age 5 and under group and Jason Dubray in the age 6 to 9 division.
Jason said he found his winning frog at Coles Creek, but didn’t have an opportunity to give it a test drive before the competition. He had previously competed three times and had placed, but wasn’t able to emerge as the Boss Frog champion until this year.
The frogs came to the arena stowed away in buckets, coolers and Tupperware containers. Some contestants brought one frog, others brought several. Altogether, more than 60 people filed into the arena to either participate or watch from the sidelines.
Samantha Arney, 12, had competed in five previous competitions. She brought four frogs. But, like Jason, she didn’t have them do test runs.
“We just got them this morning,” she said.
Laden Nolan, 6, was participating in his first Boss Frog competition. He found his leopard frog in a pasture. He was accompanied by his grandmother, Ann Nolan, whose daughter, Jessica, had won the competition three years in a row back when the event was held in the arena parking lot.
Some of the frogs were ready to leap to the finish line before the clock had even started — and in some cases continued on past the finish line. Others stood still, watching the crowd around them. Some took a few leaps, but decided to stop. One frog even started out, but decided to turn around and head back to the starting point.
In many cases, blowing on the frog was the secret to getting them into high gear. Other contestants stomped their hands or feet on the concrete, and sometimes the frog moved, sometimes it stayed put.
Some participants wanted nothing to do with their frogs, and instead relied on handlers to bring it to the starting point. Laden Nolan was among those who was hesitant to handle his frog.
“You’re going to touch it. It’s not going to bite you,” his grandmother joked.
Others who brought frogs that failed to move sought advice from the sidelines. Sometimes the advice worked; other times it didn’t.
Twenty-eight individuals participated in the Massena Recreation Department event last year, and the Boss Frog champion was Christopher Marasco, who brought in a frog that posted an even 6-second time in the finals. He was followed by Jason Dubray, this year’s winner (7.9 seconds) and Cullen Taraska (10.7 seconds).