By Kali Williams
Karen Jackson, owner of KNYE Radio, kicked off the season of giving by donating a 2003 Saturn L300 to a giveaway contest held last Saturday and Sunday at Pahrump Valley Auto Plaza.
Jackson said the contest would be fun for the community and might help someone in need of a new car.
When the big day arrived, Jackson attracted 28 participants, one of them the eventual winner, 21-year-old Kendra Baker.
Baker was getting her nails done last week when her manicurist brought up the car contest in conversation and an idea began to form.
The contestant said after hearing the contest mentioned again on the radio, she decided to enter. Little did she know, she would drive away the winner.
Baker and the other eager contestants started the contest early Saturday morning in the lobby of Pahrump Valley Auto Plaza.
To enter, contestants had to be at least 21 years of age and pay a $25 registration fee. Promptly at 9 a.m., the jovial camaraderie between the players became serious as the players awaited further instruction, crowding around the vehicle as they listened intently to the rules.
Participants were not allowed to take their hand off the car, slide their hand around, switch hands, or lean on the car, and standing was required.
Once the rules were explained, the contest began.
Five volunteer judges walked the outskirts of the car, checking for anyone who might be standing a little too close or leaning against it. They watched for slight hand movements and anything that wasn’t in compliance with the rules.
Jackson said a few people slipped up right away and let their guard down. “They were just mindlessly zoning out. That’s what got a lot of people,” Jackson said.
The judges tracked the 10-minute breaks given every two hours. “If they were back 10 minutes, 10 seconds, they were disqualified,” Jackson said.
The rules were strict and set in stone with Jackson calling the shots and standing behind her judges.
Wulfy’s generously provided lunch for the judges on Saturday as a thank you for their contribution to the contest. “We really appreciated that,” Jackson said.
The remaining contestants learned their lesson and were on their guard. By 3 p.m., with competition still heated, there was no winner in sight. Jackson told the crowd, “I’m hoping we’ll finish by New Year’s.”
With 18 people left standing and not a single “out” for three hours, something needed to be done to increase the stakes. Jackson stepped up the pace.
From that point on until the contest closed for the day at 5:45 p.m., Jackson added standing on one leg to the list of rules.
The numbers dropped from 18 to five, one man and four women.
The final five contestants returned Sunday morning at 10 a.m., refreshed and ready to pick up where they left off.
They were in for an unpleasant awakening to discover the car had been moved outside into the wind.
The competition was really getting serious and Jackson was determined to find a winner that day. To reach this goal, the stakes were raised even higher.
Just one break after the first three hours was allowed and all distractions and electronic devices were taken away as well. More challenging positions were added.
For the first hour on Sunday, contestants were not allowed to move their legs, and the positions became progressively harder to hold throughout the day.
A few hours later, the position changed to a squat. Finally, when there were only two contestants left, they had to face away from the car with one hand on a window and the other toward the bottom of the car. Holding this position in the wind made it difficult for the contestants to tell if they were moving or not.
“At one point I had to draw a line around their hands in erasable marker. They couldn’t even tell if they were moving because their hands were freezing,” said Jackson. “It was really cold out there.”
Baker’s struggle through the challenges, and bitter weather finally paid off when she won the contest around 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Her opponent made a slight error that officially ended the contest.
Baker said she was so struck by surprise and disbelief that she wouldn’t even take her hands off the car, Jackson said.
“She kept asking, ‘are you sure?’ and we answered her three or four more times before she would finally believe us.”
Baker had a lot of help and support throughout the contest from her friends and family. She had originally entered the contest with her fiancé, Jerry Hudgens, but said his active mind couldn’t handle all the “down time.” He opted to drop out and cheer her on instead.
“He was a big part of my support,” Baker said.
The contest couldn’t have come at better time for her. Just recently, the couple lost their only piece of transportation to a mechanical failure. Though the car is once again up and running, the two are extremely thankful for the second car. “Now I have another vehicle for emergencies if I need it, or if my fiancé is at work,” Baker said.