PITTSBURGH – Gov. Edward G. Rendell, along with Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II, announced that Cole Hughes of Pittsburgh was selected as the grand prize winner out of more than 1,300 entries submitted in the “Why I love the Pittsburgh Steelers” essay contest.
The contest stemmed from a wager between Rendell and Arizona Gov. Janice Brewer on the outcome of the Super Bowl. Under it, the state with the losing team had to offer a three-day vacation to a resident of the state with the winning team. Accommodations, meals and tickets to the different venues included in each vacation package were donated by the respective companies, organizations and venues.
No taxpayer dollars were used to fund any prizes.
“I was thrilled with the essays we received; some were very clever while others were filled with emotion,” Rendell said. “The loyalty expressed by fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers is unprecedented and it is clear there are no borders to the Steeler Nation.”
Hughes will receive roundtrip airfare to Phoenix via US Airways; three nights at the Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa, a luxurious and renowned Arizona landmark; two rounds of golf on any of the resort’s three, 18-hole championship golf courses; dinner for two at one of the city’s finest restaurants; and two seats at a regular season home game of one of Arizona’s major league sports teams. The Steelers have also contributed Super Bowl T-shirts and hats for Hughes.
“Cole’s essay described how, as a 13-year-old, he insisted his father take the only ticket available to watch the 1972 AFC Championship Game acting on a lesson his father had taught him – to think of others before you think of yourself,” Rendell said. “This memory and his devotion to the Steelers began before the team’s first Super Bowl victory and has only grown stronger with six championships to celebrate.”
The essay contest semi-finalists are as follows:
· First runner-up: Amie Shannan, Mars, Pa.
· Second runner-up: Jessica Kruise, Mechanicsburg, Pa.
· Third runner-up: Maggie McGuigan, Wexford, Pa.
· Fourth runner-up: Lisa Loftis, Oakdale, Pa.
All semi-finalists will receive two tickets to an upcoming regular season Pittsburgh Steelers home game. The first and second runner up also will receive weekend accommodations in the Pocono Mountains courtesy of the Hotel Fauchere in Milford.
“After reading the essays, I wanted to award the first and second runners-up with a weekend in the Pocono Mountains,” Rendell said. “Due to the generosity of the Hotel Frauchere, they will be treated to first class accommodations and dining at this historic hotel in downtown Milford.”
The essays were judged by a panel comprised of five members of the Pennsylvania State Police with Rendell making the final selections.