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Weather Causes Hand-A-Thon to end after 27 hours with Random Drawing

September 20, 2015

OliverFord_HandsDown_1The rains came.  The winds swirled.  The lightning cracked.  And the contestants agreed to a random drawing to determine who would be the winners of not only ONE vehicle, but TWO in the final moments of the “Hands Down Best Car-A-Thon EVER” Contest, Saturday night. As a result, Nick Fisher from Plymouth walked away the owner of a 2002 Ford Explorer, and Tom Watts of Culver won the 2006 Chrysler Sebring convertible from Oliver Ford Lincoln as part of their “60 Sensational Years” celebration.

OliverFord_handsDown_sleepingThe contestants had passed the 24-hour mark and were settling in for the duration, when the sky darkened to the west and north.  Close scrutiny of local weather apps made it clear that staying out in the elements was not an option, so the remaining nine contestants and judges made their way into the service area of the dealership and assumed their stance around a substitute vehicle.  At about 8PM, owner Jack Oliver determined it was unsafe to continue the contest even indoors and the option was posed to the remaining contestants that the judges randomly draw names to determine who would win not only ONE vehicle, but that the SECOND vehicle would be awarded as well.  Though all were disappointed the contest was not able to continue to the point of a one-to-one endurance test, the 7-to-2 vote drew the contest to a close, with remaining contestants receiving a free oil change from Oliver Ford.

OliverFOrd_HandsDown_sittingThe “Hands Down Best Car-A-Thon EVER” contest kicked off at 6PM on Thursday, September 17th.  Sixty names had been selected from the 136 entries from Indiana and Michigan, and 32 of these had confirmed they would participate, via email and phone responses, with 28 not responding at all.  When the clock struck six, 17 determined contestants showed up, including Casey Bennett, Abby Caswell, Tina Christ, Vonda Crase, Shane Davis, Sheri Ergle, Terry Falkenburg, Nick Fisher, Lisa Gillis, Cody Hite, Terry Lavigne, Jill Mckinney, Matthew Miller, Anne Tate, Joseph Vendola and Tom Watts.

OliverFord_HandsDown_outsideAs the contest began, participants were energized and enthusiastic.  Challenges were issued periodically, such as “sing us a song if you want to stay” (which will live in infamy on the Oliver Ford Lincoln Facebook page), and Mother Nature added her own challenge with rains overnight in the wee hours of Friday morning.  At the contest’s start, participants were welcome to sit on chairs or the ground if they wished, but as it progressed the challenges grew increasingly more difficult, first with the removal of the chairs, requiring contestants to stand for the duration of the contest.

OliverFOrd_HandsDown_insideThe first contestant to leave was Casey Bennett, who left shortly after 9PM for one of the best reasons possible: military duty on Friday.  Terri Falkenburg called it a day at 2:30AM; Vonda Crase took off for a getaway at 5:02AM, Lisa Gillis was out at 5:54AM and Terry Lavigne waved goodbye at 8:08AM;  Sheri Ergle stood her ground until we initiated the “no chairs” rule, then bid us adieu.

OliverFOrd_HandsDown_ExplorerAnd the remaining nine prepared to duel it out to the finish.  A challenge was issued just prior to the 24-hour mark, where each contestant was required to have at least one person show up to cheer them on or they would be eliminated.  The other side of the coin?  Whomever had the MOST supporters show up earned the privilege of sitting for an hour, any time they wished, in the remainder of the competition.  Shane Davis rallied the troops and won the one hour of relief; unfortunately the contest was called prior to his being able to take advantage of it.

OliverFord_HandsDown_Covertable“Though we ALL would have preferred to have seen this contest go all the way to the finish with a one-to-one who-can-outlast-the-other finish, with the deluge of rain, lightning and blustery winds, we put the decision in the hands of the remaining contestants, “ said event coordinator Lin Van Paris. “They voted (7 of 9 agreed) to the random drawing, knowing TWO of them (instead of one) were going to end up with a car. The opportunity was equal for everyone. They voted. We stand by our decision, and are pleased we were able to do more than we had promised by not only giving away two cars, but also giving the other 7 finalists free oil changes. Thanks to all who participated and for those who cheered so passionately for their friends/family.”

The “Hands Down Best Car-A-Thon EVER” contest was a part of the “60 Sensational Years” celebration marking the 60th anniversary of the Oliver Ford Lincoln dealership.  Now in its third generation of ownership, the Oliver family looks forward to continuing the serve the community and provide safe, quality vehicles for years to come.