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.

Jam Packed Father’s Day Weekend

Father’s Day weekend proved to be a jam packed weekend for our family.  It was quite the awesome weekend but let’s take a look at some of the highlites.

Friday Tball EGroup

Friday night started off with a late night tball makeup game.  Yeah, we’ve had like 5-6 rainouts this year for Drew’s Thunder tball games (MYBA) but they make them all up.  Because Tuesday’s game was rained out they decided to schedule this game for 6:30 PM on Friday.  Not the most convenient but whatever.  So, we had that game and it was a beautiful night for tball.  Very few kids showed up so we ended up finishing the game in 40 minutes or so.  Bonus!

After Tball we had eGroup at the Norris’s house.  Fun times.  We just chatted and of course ate with our eGroup friends.  The kids watched a couple movies downstairs and Bryce annoyed mommy and daddy as always 🙂  He ended up being “extra cuddly” with Jamie so that gave us all a good laugh as well.

Saturday Tball and Winery

On Saturday morning we had another Thunder tball game.  It rained, I mean poured, all night so I thought there was no chance of a game.  But it happened.  We played the rival MuckDawgs that had the Stock boys, Broc and some other kids from Drew’s class.  The game went well but took a little longer.  Oh well.

Saturday night we hit up the Mackinaw Valley Winery for the first time of the 2010 summer.  We really enjoy this place.  The band “Loose Shoes” was playing and we went out there with some friends from Morton.  Good times as always and it was the most awesome weather for this event.  No wind. No heat. No rain.  We chatted, drank a little wine and ate some Butch’s Pizza (thanks Tim)!!!

Sunday Father’s Day

Father’s Day on Sunday was very very tiring but a good one.  Let’s recap this day.

  • 8:30 AM – drove out to Manito to pick up the kiddos.  They spent the night at grandma and grandpa’s house but I wanted them to go to Church with us on Fathers day.
  • 10:00 AM – Went to Elevate Church.  Funny story.  They played a game for fathers where they had 8 fathers on stage.  Of course, I was one that got picked.  Now, each person faced off heads up with another guy on some male trivia.  The first question was a hockey question that I struggled with, but won.  Now I’m in the final four.  The 2nd question was what is the most expensive car in the world.  They had 3 choices.  I chose A.  He chose C.  Of course, the answer was B.  So how do we break the tie.  Matthew Bennett was one of the guys asking questions and running it.  The Bennett’s know me very well and he decided to put me to the “test”.  He goes, “Who is the BEST team in Major League Baseball.”  Without hesitation I answered, “The St. Louis Cardinals“.  DUH.  EASY.  He quickly says, “NO, You lose.”  See, they are huge Cubs fans and he wanted to see how faithful to my Redbirds I was.  I past that test but lost the contest.  It was a HUGE blessing in disguise though.  The championship round the guys had to see who could chug a “Happy Shake” the fastest.  What’s a happy shake?  A Happy Shake is a full McDonalds Happy Meal blended up into a drink.  EWWWWW.  Thank goodness I didn’t even have to attempt that.  They also provided Red Bull and Texas Roadhouse bread as a snack during service.  Elevate Church in Morton ROCKS!
  • 12:00 PM – Went to my brother, Rodney Knuppel, house in Pekin.  We had some KFC for lunch and just hung out.  The kids got tired very quickly so we went home for some rest.
  • 2:00 PM – rest time!  Nap for the father!
  • 4:00 PM – Headed out to Green Valley to Sarah’s parents house.  Fun grilling out night.  Had some steaks and great food.  The kids played in the kiddie pool and gave us all some entertainment.
  • 9:00 PM – BED

So that is that.  The weekend was crazy busy but lots of fun.  The kids and Sarah treated me great on Fathers Day and made me realize why I love being a daddy sooooo much!

RyanKnuppel.com – my name domain

I’ve owned the domain name “RyanKnuppel.com” for quite some time now and always had it forwarded to knup.net. But I ran across a slick little wordpress theme the other day that makes a website act almost like a business card. I thought this was a neat idea so implemented it out on RyanKnuppel.com! Basically, it’s like a starting spot for all things about me on the web. You’ll find links to my Facebook, Twitter, personal blog, business ventures, email and more. Kind of a cool idea. So anyways, not much to view out there but now my own names domain name has some relevant information.

Do you own your own name domain name? If you don’t and want some help securing it and setting up your own personal website – let me know.

Knup played ball against Michael Jordan

So as most of you know, I spent 4 years playing college ball at Elmhurst College.  Michael Jordan also ran his camp at Elmhurst College.  I got the opportunity to be a counselor at this camp all 4 years of my career.  The coolest part about this was that the other counselors were bigtime D1 players.  Guys like Shawn Marion, Mike Bibby, Jason Terry, etc… At night, when the “campers” were in bed – Jordan would come intot he gym and play pickup games with the counselors.  So, I HAVE PLAYED BASKETBALL AGAINST THE GREATEST EVER! MICHAEL FREAKIN JORDAN!  I like to claim I almost blocked his fadeaway… But yeah right.  This was in his hayday too while he was winning championships like it was a habit.

I created this post because I was tired of people not “believing” me when I told them this.  Where else would I get all this pictures?  And I’m the skinny kid out on the court, the boy amongst men, if you will.

So to make this the LONGEST post ever, I am going to attach a bunch of photos from the years I was there… Be sure to check out all of Jordan’s cars.  He brought something new each and every session.  SICK!