For 20 years I have entered my local radio station’s money contests. Sometimes it’s vaults, bags, etc. The premise is, a lucky player opens a vault and is told how much they won. They can take it, or risk it by opening the next vault. If they get the buzzer, they lose it all. They can stop anytime and take the cash, but the next vaults are opened and then they hear how much they could have won, or not.

It is easy to be an armchair sweepstaker yelling “KEEP GOING!” or “STOP!” when it isn’t your prize on the line.

Last Monday my name was called. OMG! I had five minutes to call in to play. For some reason, I called my boyfriend George first to tell him to listen. It turns out he had not left the driveway yet so he came back into the house.

I was so nervous, and excited. I didn’t want to lose. It was nerve-wracking. My goal was to win $1000. (I don’t remember the whole process as it went so quickly.)

Hindsight is 20/20. I wish I had taken a few breaths in between vaults or bought some time by asking how other recent players had done so I could have grounded myself a bit.

Vault 1 was $300. Open the next one.

Vault 2 was $400. Open vault three.

Vault 3 was $550. I thought it was $500. I couldn’t be on speakerphone so I was relaying all the amounts to George seeking advice and I was a ball of energy. This is where it also gets fuzzy. One more vault.

Vault 4 was $600? Next vault, please.

Vault 5 was $750. OMG!

Vault 6 was $800. George said stop. And I was too scared to lose. My stomach was in knots. I said STOP!! I won $800. Then I had to hear how much I ‘lost’.

Vault 7 was $900.

Vault 8 was $1100.

Vault 9 was $2000.

Vault 10 was $3000.

Vault 11 was $5000

Vault 12 was BUST!

I think there was another vault in there. As I said, it went so fast it is fuzzy.

Had I stuck to my $1000 goal I would have won the $1100, but I know I could never have opened more vaults. Even then, opening two more vaults was so scary. I may have stopped at $900 saying “close enough.”

Then later that day I heard a fellow stop after three vaults, take $750 and the next vault was the buzzer. It is so hard to know if it’s your lucky day or not.

Watch my TikTok video about my winning.

@contestqueenHave you ever won $$$ playing a radio station contest? ##radio ##contest ##cash♬ original sound – Learn to Win Giveaways!

Have you ever played one of these types of radio contests?