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9-Year-Old Oxford Girl’s Essay Wins Cannon Contest

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

Grayson Gist, 9, and her dog, Wilbur, who was the star in Grayson’s award-winning essay. Photo provided by Cannon Motors.

The Gist family found Wilbur in a box on the side of the road. He was emaciated and could barely walk. Nichole Gist was afraid to take the puppy in, fearing her two children would only find heartbreak.

“I did not think he’d make it,” Gist said Thursday.

A year later, Wilbur is not only fully healed but a much-loved member of the Gist family.

He’s also the star of the winning essay in the 2018 Cannon Canine Champion Essay Competition.

The essay was written by 9-year-old Grayson Gist, a fourth-grader at Della Davidson Elementary.

“She wrote about how we found Wilbur and what he means to us now,” Gist said of her daughter’s essay.

The public was invited to write stories about their dogs in 100 words or less.

“There were so many good stories that were heartwarming and genuine that the judges had a hard time in making the winning selection,” said Cheryl Cannon.

Wilbur was not only recognized during the Inaugural Cannon Canine Competition reception recently but will be featured in a Cannon commercial and print advertisement, ride in a Cannon vehicle during the Christmas parade and have a portrait painted by Rosie Vassallo.

The $10 entry fee collected from the essays will go toward a local rescue organization of Grayson Gist’s choice.

Due to the overwhelming response, Cannon Motors plans to make the essay competition an annual event.

Sponsors were Crossroads Animal Hospital, Hollywood Feed and Pet Smart.

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