I learned the hard way that SKIMMING the rules vs. READING them can garner you in the midst of a crazy adventure you never expected.

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I Didn’t Read the Rules

As my then-husband loves car racing, and when we were married, whenever I would find a racing contest, I would enter. In 2006 a local paper was hosting a contest giving away tickets to the Molson Grand Prix. I skimmed the rules entering us daily; myself via the paper form found in the newspaper and Craig via the online form.

I will never forget the winning phone call. I was told I was the lucky winner of Silver Weekend Grandstand Passes, but to win the grand prize of a private lunch with Bret “The Hitman” Hart, I had to participate in a sumo wrestling contest. I nearly turned down the prize, but I thought to myself, “You didn’t read the rules, just like you tell everyone else to, so suck it up and go wrestle.

Right after I won, Craig said to me, “I read in a book that you should always read the rules.” I replied, “I know. I read the same book.

When I arrived at the wrestling ring, I discovered two of the four winners didn’t show up, so I would only have to wrestle one person to win! The other competitor turned out to be Frank, a very fit man, who was a good 8” taller and good 50lbs

heavier than me. Hmmm…this was going to be a challenge. I didn’t know how big a challenge was until I wriggled into the sumo suit. Frank fit into his suit just fine. Since I am only 5’3” and 140lbs, the suit was swimming on me. Then came the helmet. It was so big that I couldn’t see. So I put my baseball cap on to hold the helmet up. That didn’t work, so they finally got a t-shirt, folded it up, put it on my head, and squished the helmet on. I could finally see. We then had to stand, all suited up, in the hot sun for 10 minutes while we waited for Bret to arrive. It was going to be the best of three. Once the match started, I realized not only was Frank bigger than me, but he also had sumo wrestled before. I was in trouble. In no time, he knocked me down and slammed me. Thank goodness the suits are all padding. I didn’t feel a thing. OK, so now I had to win, or it was all over. In the second round, I was able to maneuver around Frank a bit more and give him a few good pushes but not enough to knock him down. He gave me one really good push, I fell backward, and my helmet got stuck in between the ropes. When he slammed me, the helmet came loose and covered my face. At first, everyone thought I got hurt, but I was fine. (This is when I figured out why they have the competitors sign a long release waiver before stepping into the ring.) Frank had won lunch with Bret Hart. He was very happy. Frank and I had a chance to talk after the match. It turns out he was a fellow contestor. He inspired me to finally follow through on an idea I had for over a year; to start Canada’s first official contesting club.

I am sad to report the only picture I have of the entire adventure is of Frank accepting his prize, as my camera batteries died. (Or maybe that was a good thing?)

The joy of being part of the sweepstakes community is seeing friendly faces again and again. I had the pleasure of running into Frank at another winning event two years later.

I will repeat my #1 sweeping tip because it is so important:
Read The Official Rules and Follow Them!

I left out the part where wriggling into the sumo suit involved it being laid down on the ground and my wiggling in backward, only to discover during the July (2006) heatwave the suit was sticky and stinky. ICK!

What unexpected adventures have sweepstaking led you into?