It's Bracket Bucks time once again
It's time once again for the Times-Gazette's annual Bracket Bucks contest, sponsored by Kincaid Service Company.
A local winner who does the best job picking tournament matchups will receive a 43-inch LG flat screen smart TV from Kincaid Service Company and will have their name inscribed on the permanent trophy. The second place winner will receive a Holland Companion Grill, also from Kincaid, along with a personal trophy.
Winners will also be in the running for a nationwide prize of up to $25,000. Several years ago, a Times-Gazette reader missed the national prize by a single point.
The object of the Bracket Bucks contest is to correctly select the winners of the 64 games of the men's NCAA basketball tournament. Players earn points for each correct selection.
The bracket entry form will be printed in a special supplement to the Tuesday, March 14, and Wednesday, March 15, Times-Gazette. The bracket can be cut out and dropped off at Kincaid Service Co. or the T-G office by 11 a.m. Thursday, March 17. Entries may be mailed to the T-G, but they must be received in the T-G's post office box by 11 a.m. Thursday, March 16.
Both the TV and the grill can be seen at Kincaid Service Co., 400 Madison St.
Anyone can win
"The great thing about picking a bracket," said T-G advertising director Sissy Smith, "is that, while there are advantages to being an informed fan, anything can happen -- and that means even someone who doesn't follow basketball at all has a chance to win. People really enjoy checking on their picks and watching for the kind of upset that makes or breaks a bracket."
Pairings for the NCAA tournament will be announced Sunday.
Patsy Taylor was the first-place winner of last year's contest, receiving a 40-inch flat panel TV from Kincaid Service Company.
"It was totally a guess," Taylor said. "I rarely watch any of those ball games." Her guesses were good ones, earning her 1,499 points (out of a possible 2,000) in the contest.
Carol Chilton was the second place winner, with 1,364 points, earning her a Holland Companion Grill. Chilton said she plays the Bracket Bucks contest each year, relying on advice from boyfriend Devon Cleveland.
The national Bracket Bucks contest was won by Connie Cieker of Homerville, Ohio, who got 1,560 points.
Count the balls
But even if you're not interested in picking a tournament bracket, you've still got a chance to win. Our "Count the Basketballs" contest is a separate competition which will also be featured in the special section next week. You can enter the bracket-picking contest, the count the basketballs contest or both, all on one entry form.
The "Count the Basketballs" will be a simple random drawing from among entries which include the correct number of basketballs featured in the special section.
Prizes will be awarded by the sponsors participating in our celebrity bracket-picking contest:
• A $50 gift certificate from Pam A. Chamberland DDS and associates of Chamberland Dentistry;
• A $50 gift card from Traders Bank;
• A pizza party from Papa John's Pizza, including five large single-topping pizzas and three two-liter Pepsi products;
• A $50 gift card from Glen Oaks Health and Rehabilitation; and
• A $50 gift card from The Russell Center for Vein and Vascular Care.
The contest is open to anyone 13 and older.
In last year's VIP picks contest, which featured representatives of contest advertisers, Mark Kincaid of Kincaid Service Company was the winner, with 168 points (that contest was scored differently). However, Dr. William Russell barely missed winning; had North Carolina won the tournament, Russell would have vaulted past Kincaid in the point standings.