2010 Buffalo Wild Wings NFL Pickem Winner

So I’ve had the chance to play basketball with Michael Jordan in my life.  Now I’m getting the chance to play flag football with Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders.  If I play baseball with Albert Pujols my life is complete!

Some may say I’m lucky.  Some may say I know my football.  Some may think I’m just persistent.  I like to think it’s a little of all three.  Let me tell you my story about participating and winning the 2010 Buffalo Wild Wings NFL Pickem contest.  First off, I’m about as big of a BWW fan that you will find.  Any excuse to go there and get my #5 mango habenero and I’m going to capitalize.  So when I got the email from BWW that they were holding an NFL Pickem contest each and every week of the NFL contest – I was all about it.  This meant I had to visit Buffalo Wild Wings once a week (prior to the first NFL game) and use the little blue machine to make my picks.  Easy.  I work in East Peoria and literally 2 minutes from the EP BWW.

The second issue was convincing the wife that I should go to BWW for lunch once a week.  I mean, a lunch combo, drink and tip is gonna run ya $10.  That’s $170 when it’s all said and done.  Then came in the fact that each week, the winner of every facility, won a $25 gift card to BWW.  Now I was certainly in.  I knew I could win a few weeks and basically eat for “free” at Buffalo Wild Wings in a round about way.

So I started going each and every week.  Getting 9-10-11 of 17 games each week for the most part.  These were not picks against the spread, just straight up winners of the games.  Unfortunately, I kept coming up a bit short.  Anywhere from 5-10 players competed each week at the EP facility.  I kept getting second.  The really frustrating thing was over at the North Peoria facility – only 2 or 3 players were competing and every week I would have beaten them.  But I chose convenience and stayed with the East Peoria facility.  Finally, week 5 or so I broke through and went on a crazy streak winning 7 or 8 total week.  In the end I think I got back $200 in BWW gift cards!  So goal accomplished and ate for free all season.

The other bigger part of this contest was each weekly winner of the entire nation would win a trip to play in a flag football game with Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders and Mike and Mike.  Winning a week across the nation usually meant you would have to go perfect or close to it.  I never did this.  But about week 12 I started to notice that I was in the top 10 or so in the entire nation for the whole season.  I did some looking and didn’t see ANY mention of a prize for the overall national winner – so I didn’t think much of it.  Just kept plugging along.

Week 17 came along and I was ranked 4th in the nation and 1 game behind the leader.  Again, I didn’t really stress about it because I really didn’t think there was a prize.  If you know the NFL – you know week 17 is by far the hardest week to pick the winners.  Some teams bench players and rest up so it’s very unpredictable.  I made my picks with very little thought.  Luckily enough, I got 14 games right that last week.  Won the local facility but then logged in to see…

#1 RANK in the NATION

I had jumped the others and won straight up.  174-82 was my total record for the year.  Next best had 173.  There were a total of 35,490 in the National Contest.  See the pictures below.

So great.  Woopeee.  I won the nation.  I started scouring the website and saw no mention of the overall winner winning anything.  So I chalked it up to a “this is cool” thing and moved on.

Come a week later I get an email from Jennifer with Premier Global Sports that read…

You are the Overall Grand Prize Winner in the Buffalo Wild Wings Pick Em’ Challenge. As a Grand Prize Winner you have won a trip for you and a guest to Los Angeles, CA from February 11 to February 13, 2011 to include the following:

– Round-trip coach air transportation for two (2) from a major airport nearest the winner’s home to Los Angeles International Airport

– Roundtrip airport transfers in Los Angeles

– Two (2) nights hotel accommodations (one room, double occupancy) at Sponsor-specified hotel

– Grand Prize Winner to play in a private fantasy flag football game on February 12, 2011 at the Rose Bowl with Deion Sanders, Jerry Rice, Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg

– Two (2) Sponsor-specified gift bags.

Wow!  I was pretty excited to say the least.  So ever since then I’ve been planning this trip.  A few more details I’ve worked out:

  • My dad is going along with me.  Should be an awesome experience for us!!!
  • First time I’ve ever been to the Rose Bowl Stadium.
  • There is an autograph session so I’m scrambling to get a Deion Sanders jersey and a Jerry Rice jersey to get signed.  What do I have Mike & Mike sign?
  • Do I have to get in “shape” for this game?  Probably not.  I think it’s more of a clinic.  Not sure.
  • We are staying at the Hilton at Universal City in Los Angeles.  Looks awesome!
  • In the fine print it says the sponsored “gift bag”  is valued at $3400.  What the heck?  Lifetime Buffalo Wild Wings lunches?  HA!

So somehow all the local news, radio and papers have got ahold of this thing and ran stories on it.  If any of you know me – I’m not much for being in the public spotlight  🙂  So all of this stuff is kinda overkill in my opinion.  But it’s a local story so they are running with it.  Here are some of the links:

Newspaper:  PJ Star Article

News Station: Article and Video

Below is the embedded video that Jim Mattson of WHOI did on the story.

So that’s my exciting story for the year.  Coincidentally, this year I’ve been focusing a lot more on my sports betting blog and sending out daily free picks to people.  Maybe all of the research and hard work has paid off?  Sign up if you care to follow my picks. Or maybe I just got downright lucky!  Regardless of how it happened – it did happen.  I’ll be sure to have a follow up post with pictures and a summary from the trip after it happens.

2010 Christmas Poker Extravaganza

A group of my buddies and I play poker on a very regular basis.  At least once a month.  We play hold’em and random cards for pretty small stakes money.  Basically it’s a good excuse to get together, watch sports, and have some fun.  Last night we started a new “tradition” for our poker night surrounding Christmas.  Not only did we play poker but we did a gift exchange and had a best dressed contest.  See the picture below and let me know who you think should have won?

A couple things to keep in mind from this picture.  Yes, Wade was a woman with the full makeup, lipstick, nail polish, bra and more!  Pip had a sweet leather red blazer.  Rodney is indeed wearing Christmas lights.  Jason’s tie sung a song!

2010 Visit from Santa Claus

On this past Saturday we had a family party at our friends house in Morton. They were having “Santa” visit their house and letting all the kids sit on his lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. We also brought a present for each kid and they put it in Santa’s bag of gifts to give out! It was a lot of fun. Alyssa was the very first person to sit on Santa’s lap. I honestly thought she was going to freak out but she went up there and did it like a brave little girl 🙂 Then Drew was next. He of course was fine. The only odd thing about Drew’s discuss was Santa asked him, “Do you play baseball?” And he answered NO. lol ok whatever. Bryce was last to go up and he went on Santa’s lap like a trooper as well. He looked a little nervous but what do you expect. They each got a little gift and a candy cane and loved the whole thing. Great idea!!! Check out the pictures from the event below:

2010 Internet Marketing Wrap Up

So as all of you know, in all of my spare time (nights basically) I run and operate a whole number of websites.  This hobby started for me back in college when I learned how to make a website.  I got hooked.  Once I learned you could actually make money from websites, I got really hooked.  Now it’s like an ongoing challenge to grow my sites as large as they can be and make enough money to at least call it a profitable hobby.

2010 was kind of a rough year.  I learned a lot and came full circle in my Internet marketing philosophy.  I had spent the last 2-3 years with this simple philosophy:

I will never create that one website that makes me $2000 a month.  But I can easily create 100 websites that each make me $20 a month.

WRONG!  While in theory this may sound good.  100 sites is WAY more overhead than many of you can even imagine.  You have to keep up with site upgrades, theme designs, content (this is the hardest), links, reply to emails, monetize them all, and on and on.  It’s simply impossible for a one man show (Knup) to do all of this.  Especially in my limited time to work with my site portfolio.  Basically I have 2-3 hours each night to work on stuff.

I had grown my domain count up to like 215 at one point in 2010.  215 potential website ideas.  UGH.  My actually “sites” number was probably 115.  Each of these was a half-a** excuse for a website.  Nothing was done well.  Everything was done just mediocre at best.  I couldn’t keep up.  So the last 3-4 months I made the switch to this philosophy:

Create the biggest and best site(s) for niches (topics) that I truly have a passion for.

Simple.  If you have an authority site – you will make money.  And sometimes – LOTS of it.  So I have been selling many sites over the last few months.  The funny part was, most of them made small profits over the years.  Between the adsense revenue, ads I sold and the amount I sold the site for – they profited.  But that many sites was overwhelming.  So any sites that weren’t even worth selling – I just dropped.  Domains that were out there – DROPPED!  I didn’t wait for them to expire – I just simply deleted them from my GoDaddy so I wasn’t tempted to renew them later.  It felt good.  I now have my domain/site portfolio down to a manageable 50 or so.  Not all of these are sites that I do the work on. Some are hosted, some are ran by others with me as the IT guy, some are self managed, some I blog on, and some are ideas that I will still implement.

So first of all, what are the niches I really care about.  Simple.  1) Cardinals Baseball  2) Sports Betting / Poker / Casino  3) My family / Internet Marketing

Remember all of those celebrity sites?  SOLD.  Gone.  I kept 5 of the main ones around because they simply get tons of traffic and are going to be authority sites in the near future.  I also have a nice blogger to take care of the content on those sites so they are no effort for me.

Let’s take a quick look at the sites that are still in my portfolio going into 2011.  Each of these has a plan and will be in my 2011 Internet Marketing Goals which I’ll post in a few days.

Sites I Blog On

  • Cardinals Blog – my dad and I run CardinalsGM.com which is an awesome STL Cardinals Blog!
  • Albert Pujols Club – AP is my sports idol.  But lets face it – this site will be GONE quickly if he signs elsewhere.
  • Betting Blog – Betting Blogger is my HUGE blogging project for 2011 and beyond.  Instead of smaller focuses sites – this site will have EVERYTHING related to sports betting, poker, casino and fantasy sports!  It will be big!
  • Club Lebron – I do truly like LeBron and couldn’t let this site go. Gets great traffic.  I’ll blog on occasion. Would love to get a dedicated blogger to take over here though and just manage the monetization.
  • Cubs Suck Club – My baby!  This is where making money online started for me honestly.  Can’t let this go until they win a World Series.  NEVER!
  • Knup.netRyanKnuppel.com and BryceKnuppel.com go along with this.  Family blogging.  I got rid of my Internet Marketing blog (knupnet.com) and will make knup.net ALL ENCOMPASSING for family, business ventures, fun stuff, etc…

Other Blogs I Monetize and Manage (but do not blog)

  • Miley Cyrus – Jeff does a great job.  Getting big!
  • Selena Gomez – Largest CCN (Celebrity Club Network) site I had.  Jeff blogs.  Real big and lots of traffic.
  • Vanessa Hudgens – Jeff blogs!
  • Demi Lovato – Jeff Blogs!
  • Golden Tee Fan – Erik’s baby!  Is the largest Golden Teen resource site out there!

Sites I Host via KnupHost.com


Sites to Develop and Sell


Develop Into Long Term Projects

  • PokerRivalry.com – This site is going to be sweet.  No details yet.
  • RakeItIn.net – Not sure what to do with this honestly.
  • StubNation.com – My ticket affiliate site.  Just sites and brings in ticket revenue.
  • Exciting Disney Vacations – No work.  Adsense site.
  • Exciting Golf Vacations – No work. Adsense site.
  • Illinois Poker Tour – Possibly upcoming project!
  • Gambling5.com – My content development business site.
  • Get Points Now – Cool long term development project that I’m partnering with a guy on.
  • MVPujols.com – No work.  Just a site.
  • Peoria Sports Online – Old blog with good PR.  Use for link juice.

So as you can see.  This is still all a lot of work.  But I’m making it more manageable.  My 2011 goals will hopefully clearly define what I want to do in each of these areas.  Another positive of downsizing my portfolio is I was able to get rid of my dedicated server (costing me $125 a month) and use HostGator shared hosting which will now cost me a total of $10-$20 a month.  So what do you think?  If you are interested at all in Internet Marketing and starting up your own website or set of websites in 2011 – contact me!  I can help you get started learning the ropes.