Fence painting tradition is about more than winning

National Tom Sawyer Days are well under way, but there's an important part of the celebration that you may have over-looked.

To tourists visiting the area, this may look like a simple fence painting competition.

But this almost sixty year-old tradition is the reason Tom Sawyer Days exist in the first place.

Which means this contest has more meaning to competitors.

"It feels pretty good, because Monore City is a small town. And I won the state competition," says Monore City native Spencer Fuller.

Adrian Proleiko traveled to Hannibal from St. Louis for the competition, and placed second. "We thought it was the last year I could do it. Apparently I can do it again next, so we're going to come back," said Proleiko.

"My trick was to put the bucket close to the board, and so when I splashed, it got on the board and helped me out," said Fuller.

Strategy is involved, but in the end, it's about one thing.

"Have fun, not win, just have fun. Why compete if you can't have fun? I mean, you may win something, but why compete if you just go out there, do something and then come back and say, "I'm done, bye," said Proleiko.

The national level of competition takes place Sunday afternoon at four and it still needs contestants.

Any boy age 10 to 13 is welcome to compete.

Registration takes place until three.

You could win a flat screen TV, an iPod and much more.

Story by KHQA Reporter Meghan Townley.