April 16, 2001 11:00 pm
Brian Simmons ().
Brian Simmons ().

By The Observer

COVE Brian Simmons of Cove learned to snowboard this winter.

And snowboarding earned the sixth-grader a $100 savings bond prize in the Oregon Elks Eye Injury State Poster Contest.

Brian, 12, decided to enter the contest at the local level after hear- ing about the competition at Cove School.

He came home, thought about preventing eye injuries, and went to work with colored pencils and a pen.

In the midst of snowboarding lessons at the time, he focused on the importance of wearing goggles on the slopes to prevent both snow blindness from the glare, and to protect the eyes from flying objects. His poster showed side-by-side scenes of a snowboarder with and without goggles.

Brian admits that winning third place at the state level came as a surprise, since other posters had scored higher in the local contest, but had not gone beyond the district competition.

Brians poster has had a bit of a journey. It earned him a $50 prize for third place in the Grande Ronde Valley contest and a trip to the district contest. At the district level one of seven Elks districts in the state the poster won another $75 prize, this time for second place.

The top three district posters were judged April 7 at the state level, at the Casey Eye Institute at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.

Brians poster won again, this time third place. Tyler Wells of Cottage Grove won first place while Chris Joseph of Sandy was second. All three top winners attend grade schools.

Brian and his father, Larry, have already had a discussion about the savings bond.

The youngster broached the subject of having the money to pay his way snowboarding next season, but, grinning, he says he now understands the earnings will be there for something else, maybe college, a few years down the road.

According to the contest rules,

each poster must depict how to prevent eye injuries or what causes such injuries.

The purpose of the contest is to educate children on preventing eye injuries, and is part of the Oregon State Elks Associations visual