Julie and Megan Beeh had never considered entering a mother-daughter look-alike contest. Following a suggestion at a recent family dinner to enter The Bulletin’s annual contest, the Beehs submitted their winning selfie on a last-minute lark in honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday.

Almost 50 mother-daughter photos were submitted to the newspaper’s 2016 contest. Staff members picked four pairs who most resembled each other. Reviewing more than a dozen finalists was difficult for the judges. Glimpsing the top-four finalists shows how uncanny genealogy can be.

Julie and Megan Beeh, both of Bend, won first place for their remarkable similarity. Learning that they’d won “was so much fun,” Julie said.

Julie Beeh and her daughter Megan

Ryan Brennecke / The Bulletin

Megan said of her grandfather’s reaction, “We told him last night that we won, and he said, ‘Oh, that’s just great.’”

“We don’t usually take selfies of ourselves,” Julie added. It’s the first mother-daughter contest they’ve entered.

Julie said she realized years ago how much Megan resembles her when her father, while sifting through old family photos, pointed it out. It was a matter of the eyes and the smile.

Megan, now 16, said, surprisingly, they’ve never been mistaken for sisters. “People joke around about it,” Julie said. The mother of two daughters — the younger, Maddie, is 14 — said they do share clothes, and they’re all able to wear the same size.

Throughout our conversation, Julie and Megan finished each other’s sentences. “If something funny happens, sometimes we’ll say the same thing at the same time,” Julie said. Megan giggled in agreement. They also bicker alike. “Have you ever argued with yourself?” Julie said with a laugh. “We both like to have the last word.”

They also like to downhill ski and hike together. Shevlin Park is a favorite spot for the active pair.

This Mother’s Day the Beehs, who enjoy a large and close extended family, will celebrate three generations of mothers at their home. Julie, 48, however, said her appearance does not follow a maternal lineage.

“I look like my dad, actually,” she said.

Second place

Veronica Padilla gave birth to her daughter the day before her birthday. Both Catalina Island natives, Veronica, 43, and Marisa Hays, 23, expressed their shock and joy in placing second . Marisa moved to Bend a couple of months ago, where her father also lives. While she’s glad to be close to him, she’s lonesome for her mom, with whom she shares a near identical visage. Marisa said she entered the two in the contest because, new to town, she wanted to make an effort to be proactive.

Marissa Hays and her mother, Veronica Padilla on a walk

“It was a fun idea. My whole life I’ve heard we look like sisters,” Marisa said, adding that her mother’s smile “makes everyone’s day — her face just lights up. I know I’m not the only one who thinks so.”

Asked what about her daughter is the most striking, Veronica took the question to mean something else.

“To me, it’s her heart. She’s very compassionate and giving. She’s had a tough life with people making fun of her because she was a little chubby growing up,” Veronica said, choking up slightly. “I’m just very grateful the world didn’t make her an ugly person. It hurt her, but she still managed to keep true to herself and her foundation of love and serving people.”

“I love you, mom!” Marisa said.

“I love you, babe.”

Marisa said she has found a part-time job at the Lane Bryant clothing store, which makes her happy because the company’s message empowers women, she said.

The picture Marisa submitted to The Bulletin is one she took on one of her last days on Catalina Island before moving to Bend. The mother and daughter spent the day walking on the beach and through town. For Mother’s Day the two plan to have a Skype conversation, at the very least. If that conversation is like the one they had with The Bulletin, it will be filled with laughter.

Third place

Bronze winners Shelly and Svea Wade also spoke with The Bulletin on a conference call, one that spanned half the Pacific Ocean. While mother, Shelly, remains in Bend, her daughter Svea, spoke from Kona, Hawaii, where she’s has worked for nearly a year as a counselor at Youth With a Mission, a Christian missionary organization. The submitted snapshot of Svea — pronounced S’BE-ah” — and her mother in Drake Park was taken a few months ago when the 20-year-old was visiting around Christmas.

Shelly Wade and her daughter, Svea Wade, at Mirror Pond in December 2015.

The mother of three explained it wasn’t Svea’s eyes that first made her realize the similarities; Shelly pointed out that Svea’s bright blue eyes come from her father; Shelly’s are hazel. Regardless, the two have been mistaken for sisters. “That’s probably totally awful for her, since I’m 30-some years older than her,” Shelly said. “But I love it!”

“Mom, maybe they just think you look young; it’s not necessarily that I look old,” Svea said, putting a different spin on it. Svea turned earnest for a moment when she described what it meant to look so much like her mother.

“I wouldn’t want to be like anyone else,” she said.

“Aww, thanks Svea,” her mom said. For Mother’s Day, Shelly will fly to the Big Island to visit her daughter. They have plans to snorkel with the dolphins and perhaps sail. “Give me a boat and I’m good,” Svea said.

Fourth place

When reached by phone, Elizabeth Justema, 44, was driving daughter Barrett, 10, and some school friends to Bend FC Timbers soccer practice.

“We get told that we look alike all the time, almost every day,” Elizabeth said.

Together, the two did the Great Nordeen XC Ski Race; in their submitted photo, they’re wearing the event T-shirts. When Elizabeth’s husband noticed their matching outfits and snapped a photo as they were enjoying a family run along the Deschutes River.

Elizabeth Justema and her daughter Barrett, 10, after a run at Dillan Falls.

Submitted photo

Like the Beehs, the Justemas said not only do they look a like, but their temperaments are alike, too. “We’re both kind of feisty and stubborn,” she said with a chuckle. Mother and daughter drink Chai tea each morning before Elizabeth goes to work at Summit High School, where she teaches. Her students are always shocked when Barrett comes to visit. “They say, “Oh my gosh, it’s a mini-you!’” she recalled. “That’s always quite humorous.”

For Mother’s Day, Elizabeth said she hopes for some homemade gifts and a really nice dinner.

Barrett, when asked if she would deliver, piped up from the back seat.

“Yes!”

Elizabeth ceded that one day Barrett may grow taller than her, inverting their “mini-me” dynamic.

Elizabeth added, “She can take over, and unfortunately I’ll have to share my clothes with her.”

—Reporter: 541-617-7816, pmadsen@bendbulletin.com

13573231