Welcome to Contest Central.
Today we bring you the results of not one but two contests: a contest based on another contest and a contest that wasn’t even supposed to be a contest.
Better take this from the top.
The top, in this case, is about 1,500 feet above the ground, where the new Goodyear blimp will spend a lot of its time.
Goodyear recently announced a naming contest for the first of a new generation of airships that will be about 50 feet longer and 20 mph faster.
I am less intrigued by what the eventual name might be than by the grand prize offered to the winner: free use of the blimp for an entire day.
Think about that: If you had access to the legendary Goodyear blimp for one day, what would you do with it?
Michael Hendrickson submitted three ideas, the funniest of which was “Get me Mile High Club card stamped again.”
I like your spirit, Michael. I’m a member of that club myself. But I’m afraid the best you could do in the blimp is the Quarter-Mile High Club.
Victory Gasper would arrange a bizarre event at Canal Park stadium. After assembling a mob consisting of the mayor, the owner of the Akron RubberDucks and every 3-, 4- and 5-year-old kid in the area, she would fly low, blasting The Chicken Dance from big speakers while showering the field with feathers. The scene would be recorded for a RubberDucks TV commercial.
Matt Kalgreen displayed a selfless longing to share the blimp with all of humankind, writing lyrics to the tune of the old Coke commercial. A small excerpt:
I’d like to build the world a blimp
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves.
Seven women who became close friends while working at Goodyear — they bill themselves as “The Lunch Bunch” — figured the best use of their company’s big bag of air would be as the focal point for the ultimate romantic wedding.
As told by charter member Linda Davis, the bride and groom would arrive at the old Goodyear building on Market Street and ascend the “Speed Ramps of Love” to the roof, where the waiting blimp would be tethered with ribbons held by seven bridesmaids “dressed in a beautiful assortment of rainbow colors.”
“As the blimp nears the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the bridesmaids off-load by parachuting out, landing on seven beautiful white stallions. They gallop off to the site of the wedding.”
The couple touches down, joins the bridal party and, after an elaborate ceremony, “flies off into the sunset.”
Methinks some people have been reading too many Nora Roberts novels.
My favorite entry came from Christy Bishop of Akron. A local attorney, she supplied a detailed plan for a mass blimp-based bungee jump.
She would start the day off by offering a free meal and a well-stocked open bar. It would be BYOG (Bring Your Own Gear), with a requirement that your gear must include some rubber.
Bishop would have the blimp “hover over the Portage Lakes, as it frequently does,” a location that would address two potential problems. One: If things go badly, the jumpers are over water, with rescue boats nearby. Two, in case a nervous jumper “evacuates any bodily functions in a panic, it will be over water, minimizing the mess.”
The ropes that dangle from the nose of the blimp, used during landings, serve no purpose in the air and could be used “in tandem with [the jumpers’] cords, or merely to jump out the windows with proper anchorage.
“This does run the risk of bonking into the craft on the upswing, but with proper helmets, waivers, good piloting for weight distribution, a release of the cord when the jumper hits the lowest point, and proper outfitting, this is a minimal risk.”
Like most lawyers, Bishop prattled on a bit.
“Fourth — and this would be a requirement — all jumpers get a badge and signed certification from the blimp pilot as true Rubber Duckies — a very rare and solemn reward, worthy of one’s mementos to be handed down through family history.”
Speaking of heirlooms, Bishop will receive a copy of Blimp Pilot Terrorizes Akron, signed by its ever-modest author.
I didn’t ask for blimp names, but most of my readers have no interest in following directions, so I received plenty of them.
Ray Freitas, mindful of Goodyear’s complicated, wordy, four-pronged criteria for choosing the new name, suggested, “Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s Next Generation, State of the Art, Lighter Than Air, Flying Billboard, Whimsically Serving Summit County and Beyond.”
Elias Vujovich, noting the complex contest rules that someone compared to the IRS code, suggested “The Flying Tax Shelter.”
Wrote Al Risaliti, “So, is it safe to assume my ‘Not the Hindenburg’ entry will not be a winner?”
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.