Saturday got off to a very early start.  I awoke at 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep.  So I blogged, wrote my newsletter and drank, what seemed like a gallon, of tea.

After getting ready I treated Jenn to her very first Starbucks Latte.  She loved it.

Steve D’Adolf was this morning’s first speaker.  His topic was: Google Searching for Sweepstakes.  Good Google searches can help you find, and narrow down, sweepstakes that are perfect for you to enter.  Regional ones.  Ones that utilize your hobbies such as baking or photography.  Ones that have short entry periods.  Etc.

After a short break, the second speakers were Heidi and Andy Kutka.  They participated in an episode of Wife Swap.  The premise of their episode was sweepers vs partiers.  Part of the show was aired and they spoke about the reality of reality TV.  We had very similar experiences except, because their show was filmed for 10 days, not two, they had many more examples of the production crew taking things to the extreme.  All their wins were staged too as you can’t win on cue.  They also experienced more emotional ups and downs as Heidi was in Florida and had no contact with her family.

You would think they would not be interested in another show after all the craziness, but they recently participated in a Japanese show, loosely translated: Families Around The World Doing It Our Way.  I wish I had a chance to see it as the entire thing was dubbed in Japanese.  They said it was really funny and you could figure out what was being said (as communication is more than words).

As Heidi, Andy and I had so much to chat about, Andy and I ran to McDonald’s to grab us all lunch while Heidi entered the Vendor Room raffles.  What a fun couple.  I wish we lived closer together.


Next up was Walt Arnett, our resident video wizard.  He spoke about the ins and out of video contests showing us examples of ones that didn’t win and why, followed by a few of his winners (see below for some examples).

Some of his winning tips were:

  1. bring the personality (go BIG)
  2. live in a generic world (no logos or brand names)
  3. layer your ideas (keep taking your ideas to the next level)
  4. tropes (Google this for additional information)
  5. brainstorming (with anyone who will listen)
  6. a little help from your friends (pizza and beer go a long way)

Check out the pictures of Walt and I in my convention photo album on Facebook. Slight height discrepancy!

Since we had some time before dinner I thought I would snag the chance to go hang out by the pool.  That’s when I realized I forgot to pack sunscreen!  Thankfully I wasn’t out long enough to get burnt, and it was after 4:00 pm.

I got dressed up and headed down to the banquet.  (I won the dress I wore.  I won a $50 Joe Fresh gift card.  Then they had a $10 coupon for every $50 you spent.  I bought a t-shirt, 3 pairs of PJ bottoms, the dress and a bracelet for $8 including tax after using the card and coupon.  I love this hobby!)

At last year’s banquet, the table I sat at won big.  I am still unsure how it started, but each time someone won, we chanted “eat some pie, eat some pie” as the winner took a bite of one of apple pie slices put out on the table for dessert.  This year we all sat together again.  Barb ensured dessert by ordering an apple pie from the hotel.  It was HUGE!  It paid off as almost everyone around the table won 1000 1st class stamps.

Mark  Barbara

We also had Chinese yo-yos, apple place cards, and lucky leprechauns crafts.  (I should have taken a photo pf the table because it looked like a party.)  As I had been up so early, when the banquet was over I headed straight to bed where normally I would have hung out either in the bar or lobby.

If you want to be part of the fun, next year’s convention will be held from August 27th-31st, 2014 at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando FL. Details can be found on the #25Orlando convention website (to be live soon).


crw 0613 headshotCarolyn Wilman (aka @ContestQueen) is the author of You Can’t Win If You Don’t Enter. She teaches others how to find, organize, enter and win contests, sweepstakes and giveaways. To-date others have won over $1,000,000 using her Online Contesting System. With over twenty years experience as a Marketing Consultant, Carolyn also helps companies create, and viral market, winning promotions maximizing ROI and loyal customers.