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Winners score free HDTV sets in contest

Posted: February 24, 2009 8:13 p.m.
Updated: February 24, 2009 5:35 p.m.

Top winners of the "U-Pick'Em Football 2008" contest staged by each picked up a brand-new 32" Magnavox HDTV set with a retail value of $450.

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Three lucky locals each scored a brand-new 32-inch Magnavox HDTV set with a retail value of $450 in the "U-Pick'Em Football 2008" contest presented exclusively by, The Signal newspaper's Web site.

Judie Pieper of Valencia took top honors in the contest's PAC 10 division, Mike Pontius of Valencia won the NFL category and Jerry Sheggud of Stevenson Ranch bested the competition in the Santa Clarita Valley High School division.

Pieper, a retired senior citizen suffering from emphysema and partially blurred vision due to old age and a cataract, said winning the TV was a blessing because she only had a 20-inch set at home.

"(It's) so exciting just to be able to see the TV," Pieper said. "I'm so happy, just been bubbling for days - you can't imagine how happy.

"On the day of the Super Bowl one of my daughters was at a party, and they were cheering for Arizona, against their team (Pittsburgh), just so I could win! That was fun!"

Pontius, a special-education teacher at Valencia High School, entered the contest for the first time this year. While he admitted asking for some help from VHS coaches, he mostly just looked and picked.

"I was trying (to win), but toward the end I really didn't think I had a chance," Pontius said. "I honestly didn't check the final standings at the end of the year.

"My wife called me one morning last week and told me there was a message from The Signal saying I had won the contest. I was very surprised."

Sheggud, a health and physical education teacher at Valencia High, participated in all three divisions of the contest and said he enjoyed how the contest kept him interested from week to week, and without having to worry about losing money.

"I was trying to win all three levels, because I knew friends who were competing in the contest, too," Sheggud said.

"I heard Mike (Pontius) was in the contest from a fellow teacher (who) said Mike was a weekly winner. It was fun knowing a fellow teacher was also competing in the same contest."

Velocity Sports Performance, Mojito Cuban Cuisine and Valencia Auto Spa sponsored the "U-Pick'Em Football 2008" contest.

The contest ran on throughout the 2008 football season. Players could choose the teams to win up to 20 minutes before each game.

The competition included picks in three categories - the PAC 10 college season, NFL and the local high schools.

Each week, awarded $25 restaurant gift certificates to that week's three winners, and the overall three winners picked up the Magnavox HDTVs.


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