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One year ago today, I published my first post here on Anyone Can Enter.

In the 12 months that followed, I’ve stuck to my mission of competing in at least one offbeat, obscure, wacky, or just plain ridiculous event each month, so long as anyone can enter. Along the way, I have succeeded (winning a national championship in egg tossing) and failed (in nearly everything else). More than anything, I’ve had fun at every step. Even when I was earning the title Last Ass in a pack burro race in Colorado or listening to my friends crack on me for failing to complete the Krispy Kreme Challenge.

The way I see it, this occasion deserves a professionally baked cake. It may seem crazy—buying a cake to celebrate the anniversary of a blog—but is it really any crazier than jumping into a freezing cold lake on New Year’s Day or throwing yourself down a hill after a wheel of cheese? I don’t think so.

Plus, this blog is responsible for more than a series of wacky adventures. Back in that first post, I set a few additional goals. One was to lose about 20 pounds. The other was to run a marathon. I’m happy to say that I have exceeded my weight loss goal and that in four days, I’m running in the Tobacco Road Marathon.

As for next year, I doubt I can stand to lose 20 more pounds and I’m not sure I can continue competing in one event each month. But I do plan to maintain this blog. Sometime after the marathon, expect a more sentimental retrospective, complete with a year-in-review video and a more detailed plan for the future of Anyone Can Enter.

For now, let’s take a look at the first year of Anyone Can Enter by the numbers…

11,975—All-time blog views (not including my own views)

8,667—Miles traveled to and from events

6,913—YouTube views

1,776—Stairs climbed at the CN Tower Climb

725 Tossing For Hunger YouTube views

650—Approximate number of people who endured my attempt to holler at the National Hollerin’ Contest

365—Days my awesome, beautiful wife Carie has had to put up with all this nonsense

350—Most blog views in one day, largely thanks to @darrenrovell

349—Second-most blog views in one day, largely thanks to Penn Holderness

335—Comments you’ve made on the blog

253—Miles I’ve run since October, when I started training for the Tobacco Road Marathon

149—Votes I lost by to the eventual winner of the News & Observer’s Ugly Sweater Contest

145Tweets posted

86—Percentage of people who voted for me to shave my head for the Warrior Dash

73—Twitter followers

62—Feet between Mike Hepp and I when we completed our winning toss in the National Egg Toss Championship

50—Approximate number of people who jumped into a freezing cold lake with me on New Year’s Day

42—Stone skips registered by Russ Byars at the Pennsylvania Stone Skipping Tournament, 27 more than my best effort

25 (and counting)—pounds I’ve lost since starting this blog

15—Trees we planted during the Asheville Idiotarod

10.5—Doughnuts I managed to eat at the Krispy Kreme Challenge, 1.5 less than the necessary dozen to complete the challenge

10—Men, including me, who entered the Idaho Springs Pack Burro Race

9—Men who finished ahead of me in the Idaho Springs Pack Burro Race

4—Orange habanero peppers I ate during the Bailey Farms Chile Pepper Eating Contest before bowing out to the Toothless Pepper King, who ate 14

3National champion coaches who declined my request for advice leading up to the National Egg Toss Championship

1—National championship won without the help of national championship coaches

 

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For the second time in the span of a month, I have officially lost an ugly sweater contest.

Thanks again to all of you who voted. For those that didn’t, don’t worry. I doubt your vote would have helped. The winner collected a whopping 273 votes to my 124.

Now that the contest is over and the winner’s full name has been revealed, I’m hoping she will agree to speak with me for a Q&A. With any luck, she’s reading this now. And is probably starting to think I’m crazy. She’s probably right.

Nevertheless, I’m honored to own the second ugliest sweater in the Triangle.

 

 

 

Thanks to all of you who have voted for my Grinch sweater in the News & Observer’s Ugly Sweater Contest. Unfortunately, I’m currently in a distant second place and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina’s chances of winning the prize (a $50 Visa gift card) are dwindling.

I’m trailing Jessica and her Beer Carrying Christmas Sweater 162-91. Oh, wait. It just went up to 169-91.

While her sweater is perfectly fine, I smell something rotten. Despite the fact that I’ve told nearly everyone I know about the contest via this blog, Facebook, Twitter, and both my personal and work e-mail accounts, I’m still getting smoked. Even when my votes go up by 5, hers immediately soar by 10. I find it hard to believe that someone has convinced that many people – in such a short time span – to register for the site, thereby giving the N&O their address, phone number, e-mail, and firstborn. It’s almost like she’s voting for herself, which I’m told is possible if you log out of the site and restart your browser.

It’s so frustrating that I briefly flirted with a co-worker’s offer to help rig the contest. With an hour of his time tonight, he said, he could guarantee me a victory. And he wasn’t joking.

I knew this wasn’t a good idea, but I couldn’t help telling a few friends and Carie. All of them agreed that it wasn’t worth it. Especially Carie.

“Jon,” Carie said, collecting her thoughts. “I love you. … But – I think. Well. … It’s just that, sometimes, I think you start to take this stuff too seriously. Is this silly contest really worth an hour of your friend’s time? Is it worth cheating? Is it really that important?”

“I know. It’s just that I told people at work that I might be the Ugly Sweater King of the Triangle. I could be a king, Carie. A king.”

But in the end, I’d rather be an honorable dunce than a cheating king, so I refuse to rig the contest. Plus, Jessica might just be winning this contest fair and square.

Either way, maybe you should go vote for me. A few hundred times.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, the polls have opened for the News & Observer’s Ugly Sweater Contest. There are some truly ugly entries, but there’s only one clear choice. Here’s why.

If my Grinch sweater is the winner, I will donate the prize (a $50 Visa gift card) to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

Before you can vote, you must register as a user on the N&O’s site. I realize this might seem like a inconvenience, but think about it: two minutes of your time could benefit a worthy charity. So please, register and vote now!

Here’s how it works.

1. Go here to register.

2. Check your e-mail and confirm your registration.

3. Go here, log in, ignore the other sweaters, and vote for me! My entry is titled, “You’re an ugly one, Mr. Grinch.” It’s on the bottom right.

And if you’d like to give three minutes of your time, please, by all means, spread the news about this contest via word of mouth, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, bullhorn, etc. However you spread the news, spread it fast. The polls close on Thursday (supposedly).

Thanks!

A few weeks ago, I sent out a cry for someone to find me a December contest within my home state of North Carolina. Fortunately, a few members of my family were listening.

Even better, they found a contest that required little work on my part.

My mom and sister, Beth, each told me about the News & Observer’s Ugly Sweater Contest. Since I already made a horrific sweater for a company Christmas party, all I had to do was upload a picture. And since I lost the company’s contest, this will give me a second chance at ugly sweater glory.

Check out my entry here.

This is an online voting contest and the entry with the most votes will receive a $50 Visa gift card. Naturally, that means that I’ll be begging you to vote for me when the polls are open between Dec. 30 and Jan. 6.

But I’m not just asking you to do this for me.

If I win, I will donate the gift card to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. That’s right. That means your vote for my goofy Grinch sweater could actually help somebody in need.

It’s not exactly the Grinch saving Christmas, but it’s better than nothing.