Rocklin Stafford has been made fun of for his long blonde hair, and it used to bother the 8-year-old Great Barrington, Massachusetts boy who has never had a haircut.
Then Sawyer Fredericks, a Glen teenager who has sung his way to the final round of NBC’s “The Voice,” came along.
“He would get picked on at school because of his hair, and he would always ask me if he could cut it,” said his mom, Kaitlin Stafford, who brought him to Proctors on Monday for a Sawyer Fredericks look-alike contest organized by The Daily Gazette. “And then he saw Sawyer on TV and he said ‘Mom, there’s somebody just like me.’ So now he’s a huge Sawyer fan.”
Rocklin, whose handpicked outfit included a purple vest, said he likes “that [Fredericks] sings well and that he looks just alike.”
Rocklin was among 24 contestants to throw on a bowler hat and smile for the camera at the Sawyer Fredericks Celebration & Look-alike Contest, which took place from 4 to 8 p.m. in the theater’s box office in advance of Fredericks’ performance on the show’s deciding episode airing at 8 p.m. Many look-alikes were also filmed wishing Fredericks good luck for a video that will be posted online and sent to him personally.
The contest offered a $500 first place prize. And while Rocklin didn’t win, his mom said that’s not why they made the hourlong drive.
“We don’t care,” she said. “We’re just really here so he could experience it.”
First place went to Jillian Smollar, 16, of Kinderhook, who was prodded to enter the contest by three friends, all huge Fredericks fans, who were on hand Monday for moral support. She wore Fredericks’ trademark bowler hat and a black button-up shirt to the contest, and let her long blonde hair fall straight just like that of her doppelgänger.
“We think I’m his long lost twin,” she said. “No, I’m kidding. It’s probably the hair.”
Smollar said she’s also been told her cheekbones, nose and eyes all mirror that of Fredericks. She’s OK with that.
“I think it’s really cool because he’s from right nearby,” she said.
Contestants were male and female, young and old, and came from near and far to show their support for Fredericks through the sincerest form of flattery.
Bill Coons, 54, didn’t pretend to look anything like Fredericks, despite the black bowler hat and blond wig — props provided for the event by The Costumer — on his head.
The dark mustache didn’t help.
“I’m just proud of the kid,” the Schenectady man said. “He’s an inspiration. He’s very young and he’s got a good heart. He’s from our area and I’m proud to support him.”
He added, “Even if he doesn’t, he’s already a winner.”
Kyle Johnston, 15, of Gloversville, didn’t need to borrow a wig.
“His girlfriend helped him out with hair extensions,” said his dad, Bob Johnston.
He entered the contest after hearing from his aunts how much he looked like Sawyer, his mom, Patty Johnston, said.
“He used to have long hair. Now he wishes he never got it cut,” she said.
Ann Aumick, a costumer designer at The Costumer in Schenectady and one of three judges, said she is interested to see if Fredericks’ look — specifically the long hair, bowler hat and vest — will become popular if he wins “The Voice.” Gazette Editor Judy Patrick and photographer Patrick Dodson also judged the contest.
“If he wins, will he become a trendsetter? Will people want to dress that way?” Aumick asked. “Will you see Sawyer everywhere?”