Garth Gilson

Football fan holds key to victory

Dave Bennett’s 2013 Christmas is more black and orange than white

Dave Bennett’s 2013 Christmas is more black and orange than white.

Bennett, 49, a Vernon B.C. Hydro power system operator, is a B.C. Lions seasons ticket holder and, as of Dec. 18, the new owner of a 2014 black Nissan Titan pickup which he won in a contest offered by the Canadian Football League team to seasons ticket holders old and new.

“What a Christmas present,” said Bennett as he was pulling his new vehicle into his home the afternoon of Dec. 19. “It’s very exciting.”

On Dec. 18, Bennett and his wife, Terry, drove their Hyundai Accent over the Coquihalla to  the Morrey Nissan dealership in Burnaby where Bennett – a Lions seasons ticket holder since 2005 – had qualified as one of eight contestants for a chance to win the Nissan truck.

Bennett picked up his dad, Jack, in Chilliwack and went to try and win the fully loaded pickup.

Bucking superstition by wearing his lucky No. 13 Lions jersey with “13th Man” crested on the back – which he won in another Lions contest a few years ago – Bennett knew that as the seventh qualifier out of eight in the contest he would have the seventh pick of a key that may or may not start the vehicle.

When the first six contestants tried and failed to start the Nissan, Bennett, who admitted to the Lions that he was nervous all day, now knew he had a 50-50 chance of winning the vehicle.

He took out a loonie from his pocket and flipped it in the air. Heads, and he would pick the back key on the board still remaining. Tails, and he would pick the front key.

It was heads.

He slipped in behind the wheel, turned the back key he selected and listened to the motor purr.

“I didn’t think I had a chance when it was one-in-eight and I was picking seventh,” said Bennett. “When it came to putting the key in and I was in last two, I wasn’t really surprised that it started. It was very exciting, though, and I was shaking.”

A huge fan of Lions quarterback Travis Lulay, Bennett makes it to about half of the Lions’ nine home games in person.

When he can’t make the games, he lets family members or co-workers enjoy the seats at the goal line on the visitor’s side of B.C. Place, about 20 rows up from the field.

Winning the truck just adds to his love of the Lions.

“Of course I would recommend buying Lions season tickets even without the truck,” smiled Bennett, who also has purchased tickets to the 2014 Grey Cup game at B.C. Place. “It’s awesome.”

Each Lions’ seasons ticket holder, new or renewing, was placed in a draw for the Titan once they purchased their 2014 tickets.

The Lions drew two qualifiers from September through December, with Bennett qualifying on Dec. 11, one week before the giveaway.

 

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