When guessing which teams would win each week in The Garden Island Football Fever contest, Lana Lopes stayed with her strategy.
It didn’t involve checking point spreads.
It didn’t have anything to do with injury reports.
And it wasn’t based on home field advantage.
Her system? Well, lets say a bit of luck was involved.
“If the name sounds good, I pick it,” she said.
The method worked — better than expected.
The Lihue resident’s name was selected in a drawing from 3,000 ballots as the grand prize winner of the 18-week program. She’ll receive a trip for two to Las Vegas, four or five days stay in a hotel, three meals a day and $500 spending money.
When informed by TGI of her winnings, Lopes was skeptical.
“I was shocked. I thought it was make believe. I kept asking her, ‘Is this for real?’ And she said yeah.”
Lopes will be joined on her Vegas trip by Abraham, her husband of 48 years.
“I’m the better half,” Lana said, smiling.
Both submitted the weekly forms published in TGI that asked participants to predict the winners of 15 college and NFL games.
After finding time to fill out the Football Fever forms, Lana delivered them to the TGI office. The most she got right in a week was 13 — which might usually be good for the $250 weekly prize to the best guesser.
“I thought I would win that week,” she said. “Nope, somebody got better.”
The Kauai natives are looking forward their Vegas vacation, something Lana said was a thrill to win and a nice treat for the couple that lives in senior housing.
“Through hard times and good, we’re still together,” she said.
The grand prize drawing included every ballot submitted during the contest, regardless of number of correct picks.
Lana said she did better on college games, noting her favorite teams include Wisconsin and Nebraska.
Husband Abraham sometimes offered his advice, but Lana didn’t always agree with his input.
“He asks, ‘Why are you picking this team?’ Because I like the team,” Lana said.
Abraham is a past weekly winner of Football Fever, but this year, his wife got the best of him.
“Lately, she’s been beating me,” he said, shaking his head.
Contest sponsors include PS&D/Napa, Kauai Athletic Club, Puakea Golf, Kauai Government Employee’s Federal Credit Union, Dr. Joel Punzal, P&D Design & Armory, Poipu Bay Golf Course, Salty Wahine, Bradley Maruyama Agency and Poncho’s Solar.