Tuesday, February 10, 2004
When Michael Regan's friends at West Lake High School in Austin, Texas, hear what his dad bought him for his 16th birthday, they are sure to be a little envious.
Forget that the 16-year-old's father never planned to buy his son a sport utility vehicle -- especially not a 2004 Jeep Rubicon -- for his birthday.
But that's exactly what happened when the father of four purchased a $25 raffle ticket from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club in January. Now Michael's father, Mike, has set the bar for every other high school dad in Austin.
"I'm going to have to come up with something pretty good next year," he said. "This is going to be a hard one to top."
The winner was announced during Saturday night's Winter Carnival Night Show, and the Regans got the good news Monday afternoon in a message from Rick DeVos, the Winter Sports Club's executive director.
Mike said his son had been following the drawing for the SUV online but found out the family had won by listening to a recording on the family's answering machine.
"I had to prove it to him," Mike said. "He thought I had set the whole thing up with some of my friends in Steamboat."
But Michael's dad didn't set it up, and by next week, the keys to the brand new Rubicon will be in his son's hands.
"It's his car," Mike said. "We are going to pick it up this weekend and drive it back to Austin."
The family has been vacationing in Steamboat Springs twice a winter for the past 10 years. This year, they just happened to be in town on Michael's birthday, and when they saw the drawing for the car, the young man begged his dad to buy him a ticket for his birthday.
"We had to go to two or three places before we found a place to buy the ticket," Mike said. "We actually bought the ticket the day after his birthday, on New Year's Day."
"He's pumped," Mike said. "What 16-year-old wouldn't be excited about a new car?"
But the Texas teenager wasn't the only winner in the drawing.
The Winter Sports Club sold all 3,000 tickets for the drawing, and DeVos estimates that the club cleared about $30,000 on the project.
"I'm not sure exactly how much we raised right now, but I know that this project reached its goal of selling all the tickets," DeVos said.
DeVos said that the drawing was a little risky because the club had to purchase the vehicle up front and then work to make sure all the tickets sold.
A Steamboat Springs resident, who DeVos declined to name, offered to buy up to $10,000 of the tickets a week before the end of the drawing if they didn't sell. A flurry of buying just before the deadline brought the club within $500 of its goal. The man bought the remaining tickets and, in a show of generosity, donated the remaining $9,500 to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Foundation, which ensures the future of the club.
"It was a tremendous gesture," DeVos said. "The club is 91 years old, and the Foundation will make sure it's around for the next 100 years."
DeVos said 2,500 of the 3,000 tickets, which cost $25 for one or $20 in packages of five, were purchased by Steamboat residents. People outside of Steamboat purchased 500 hundred tickets for the drawing.
Mike said he purchased just one ticket; the last thing he expected was for the Jeep to end up in the family's garage.
Mike said he would fly to Steamboat this weekend to pick up the car. He plans to ski a bit before making the 18-hour road trip back to Austin to deliver the vehicle to his son.