- Midway Auto Dealerships of Kearney, Nebraska give away a prize every year, but this year's Extreme Giveaway was above and beyond — literally.
- A Kawasaki motorcycle and a tandem skydive made up the prize package, announced on August 5.
- The dealer allowed people to enter the contest via its Web site or in person at the dealerships. A car purchase was good for 20 extra entries, and use of the service department was good for five.
KEARNEY, Nebraska — Midway Auto Dealerships has a pair of dealerships in this high-plains city selling General Motors and Chrysler products, but for a few weeks, they also had a Kawasaki motorcycle in the showroom. It, along with a tandem skydive, made up the dealer's Extreme Giveaway contest.
The dealership was taking entries all during the month of July and announced the winner on August 5.
Midway Chevrolet Cadillac Buick and Midway Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram ran the Extreme Giveaway contest. It drew nearly 6,000 entries, Marketing Manager Jessica Janitscheck told Edmunds. Local couple Mike and Alexis Pennington, who had recently purchased a new vehicle from the dealer, took the prize package.
The Penningtons were "thrilled," Janitscheck said, to take delivery of a Kawasaki VN900 and a tandem skydive with Skydive Atlas in nearby Holdrege, Nebraska. Video and still photos of the skydive adventure are included in the prize package as well.
Janitscheck said the dealer runs a major giveaway every year, featuring items such as season tickets to the beloved University of Nebraska Cornhuskers' games.
"It's a chance to say thank you to our customers and the whole community," she said. "We wouldn't be here without them."
This year's contest, though, definitely went above and beyond — literally.
Janitscheck said that the dealer publicized the contest through posters at the local fair, in the mall, and inside the dealership. A scannable QR code allowed people to enter online and entries were also accepted at the dealerships with no purchase required. However, she said, anyone who bought a vehicle during July was given 20 bonus entries, and anyone bringing in a vehicle for service got five extra entries.
"Then I put every entry into a spreadsheet"— there were almost 6,000 — "and we used a random number generator to choose our winner," she said.
Since they had just purchased a vehicle, the Penningtons were in close contact with the dealer anyway. That made it all the more enjoyable for the dealership to announce the win.
Alexis Pennington, the wife of the winning couple, happened to be coming in to have a DVD player installed right after the winner was selected, Janitscheck told Edmunds.
"Her salesperson walked over to the motorcycle and asked her, 'Hey, did we get you entered into this raffle?' Then he suggested, 'How about you just sit on the motorcycle for fun?' and when she did, he told her it was hers. She was just in shock!" Janitscheck said. "Her husband couldn't have had a better reaction. Ecstatic is an understatement."
Midway will get some great publicity out of the contest in the Kearney area. The dealership publishes a monthly 16-page newspaper that goes out to 36,000 homes in Kearney and surrounding towns, which will feature a story on the Extreme Giveaway winners in the August 11 issue. And a local country radio station will be doing a live interview with the Penningtons over the weekend at one of the dealerships, Janitscheck said.
Edmunds says: The town of Kearney may be a familiar milestone to those who travel cross-country on I-80. Watch for two very satisfied dealership customers out for a motorcycle run next time you go through.