It's not exactly a talent that you can bank your future on, but being the watermelon seed spitting champion of the northeast does have its perks - like a guest appearance on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."
It may have been pure happenstance that 12-year-old Taylor Ann Haiduk of Bellmore was at Six Flags Great Adventure on the Fourth of July - the same day the park was holding the first northeast watermelon seed spitting competition for kids.
On a lark, Taylor entered and beat out dozens of other competitors at the Jackson, N.J., theme park by spitting a watermelon seed 26 1/2 feet.
It's a gift she never knew she had. "I'd never done it before," Taylor said Sunday at her grandparents' home in Bellmore.
Monday night, her title will be put on the line for the contest's finale, National Watermelon Day. Taylor will square off against her closest seed-spitting rival, runner-up Chris Harrington from New Hampshire, just after midnight Monday night on Fallon's show. The winner of the competition will be crowned the reigning northeast seed spitting champion for 2009.
The grand prize for the contest is a "one of a kind" baby Wumbler stuffed animal autographed by New York Jet Mark Sanchez, an iPod Touch and four tickets to Six Flags, awarded by the sponsors of the contest, The Wumblers and the National Watermelon Association.
Taylor will be starting the seventh grade at Grand Avenue Middle School in the fall. Sporting a pink watermelon T-shirt, she said her mother, Elizabeth, and grandmother, Ann, will be accompanying her to Manhattan for her performance. She said she's excited to be on television, but it won't be her first time in the spotlight.
When she was 2 years old, her photo wound up in the New York Daily News for an animal feature, and when she was 5, she appeared on the CBS morning show "Living It Up! with Ali and Jack" dressed as an angel on Halloween.
Her grandfather, Charlie Liggio, said she is a natural talent. "I'd like to see her nervous just once," he said, smiling.
But Taylor admitted that she is under a bit of pressure because of the rematch.
"If [Harrington] beats me, that would be kind of embarrassing," she said.