Love has a way of finding you in unexpected places.

MARYVILLE, IL — 77 year-old Anita Whitehall of Maryville was united in marriage with William-Robert “Billy-Bob” Ankerson, 82, of Maryville, on Saturday May 22nd, 2021 at the home of Whitehall’s eldest daughter, Rebecca Smith, 56, in St Louis. Pastor Clarence Page officiated.

The Bride was widowed on Easter morning 2018 when her late husband, Peter Whitehall, passed suddenly from heart attack.

On the three-year anniversary of his passing, Mrs. Whitehall chose to remember her husband’s spontaneous and adventurous spirit by entering the hotdog eating contest at the local Maryville Easter-Day Fair & Parade. She wanted to do something silly and fun, the kind of thing he would have done just to embarrass her.

Mrs. Whitehall managed to eat 16 hotdogs from the time the gun was shot until ten minutes later when the buzzer went off to end the competition. After coming in second to last, only beating out four year old Eli Teller who consumed 5 hotdogs, and losing to the 2021 champion, Timothy Dillon, who ate 69, she managed to gain the attention of fellow contestant and widower, Billy-Bob,* who promptly asked Mrs. Whitehall to join him for an ice cream cone and a line dance. She said no to both for fear of “losing her cookies” but after a little encouragement, she agreed to go for a walk. The pair have been inseparable ever since.

*Billy-Bob was disqualified from the competition after eating only 9 hotdogs because he couldn’t keep it down, a fact that Anita ensured we knew and will never let him forget.

Jan Miller (she/her) lives in Bozeman, Montana with her fifteen plants, zero pets, and no children. She is an avid hiker who also likes to quilt.



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