Through July 1, 2006, retail sales staff answered the contest call to submit a story of survival and perseverance in the face of challenging customers. Twenty-nine finalists had their stories submitted to the contest judges, whose votes determined the top 10. Our judges included representatives from each of our 10 sponsoring companies, as well as celebrity judge Jon Dorn, executive editor for Backpacker magazine. Judges received the stories stripped of store and author identification. Stories were judged and awarded points in two category areas: writing ability (good story line, grammar, spelling, punctuation and organization were key) and story telling ability (how well the story grabbed the judge's imagination, inspiring them to laugh, smile, cry). Forty points were possible from each judge -- 20 from each category. The points were totaled and the 10 stories with the most points earned the win.
Writers of each of the winning story entries will be contacted directly by our contest sponsors and will receive prizes from each -- total value of the prizes being received by each winning story entry exceeds $1,000.
While the judging was tight and the judges commented that all the stories they received were entertaining to read, there can be only 10 that win. The top 10 stories (in no particular order) in the 2006 "Survivor: Outdoor Retail" SNEWS® writing contest are:
Lear Jet Guy (GRAND PRIZE WINNER)
Bob Aldrich, Midwest Mountaineering – Minneapolis, MN
I Need Some Shoes (RUNNER UP)
Jay Curwen – Black Dome Mountain Sports – Asheville, NCGuide To Surviving Customers (RUNNER UP)
Neil Techawongtham, Northern Mountain Supply – Eureka, CA
Two Scouts vs. My Bladder (RUNNER UP)
Daniel Dore, Great Outdoor Provision Company, Durham, NC
Up the Creek With Too Many Paddles
Gil Hines, Blue Ridge Mountain Sports – Charlottesville, VA
Shoe Sale Psychology
John Reuter, The Elephant's Perch – Ketchum, ID
I Should Have Known
Phil Leeds, Skinny Skis – Jackson, WY
A Positive Spirit for Sales
Bryn Meyer, Rutabaga - Madison, WI
Nun On The Run
Seth Lindenfelser, Midwest Mountaineering - Minneapolis, MN
Loafers On Denali
Aaron Buckalew, Skinny Skis – Jackson, WY
Congratulations to our winners!
The grand prizewinner cashes in on a trip for two to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2007. Our official "honorable mentions," in addition to the valuable prizes, each will receive a gift certificate that can be redeemed toward attendance at an Outdoor Industry Association-sponsored event, such as Outdoor University, Mountain Sports Festival or the OIA Rendezvous.
The grand prize winner and the three runner-up winners were determined based on popular vote (sorry judges) -- those among the top 10 receiving the most votes (from themselves, friends, family, co-workers, their dog, their cat, their priest) won, it was that simple. Between July 10 and July 31, over 15,000 votes were cast -- indicating that either the contestants had an enormous number of friends, or perhaps some sales folks were spending entirely too much time online. Either way, we were stunned at the response.
The overall store winner of the $500 check from SNEWS® for having the most story entries goes to Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, in Charlottesville, Va. Enjoy the party on us, gang!
SNEWS® thanks our first-year sponsors -- eVent,Nikwax, Timberland, SmartWool, Manzella, ExOfficio, Polartec, Yakima, Outdoor Retailer, Outdoor Industry Association and KCPR -- who are providing our contest winners some amazing product and prizes.
Did you miss out on this year's contest? Bummer, but no worries. If you haven't already done so, outdoor retail staff can get ready for next year by activating a subscription now at www.snewsnet.com/freeretail/snewsarticle-contest.html. Then, watch your SNEWS® for announcements calling for our next contest entries and get ready to be a winner.