Auto dealership announces name of Z28 winner


Confidence led to a Camaro.

Two weeks ago, Chelsey Hackney bought a new Chevrolet Traverse at Bob Poynter GM in Seymour, and salesman Joe Browning said that automatically made her a finalist to win a 1978 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. The classic car was being given away as part of the dealership’s 40th anniversary.

"We are friends with Joe, as well, so I told him whenever he handed me that card (to fill out), I said, ‘I’m going to win that car,’ just joking," the Brownstown woman said.

On Saturday, she went to the dealership in hopes her name would be one of 40 drawn to go onstage and pick out a balloon. Each balloon had an envelope attached to the string. Thirty-nine cards had the name of a prize, but only one had the Z28.

Before she went to the dealership, Hackney said she called her parents and said, "I’m winning this car today."

"I don’t even know that I felt confident," she said. "I was just saying it just to say it."

When her name was called, Hackney selected a blue balloon from one of the bouquets being held by women onstage. Tony Starkey, who works in marketing and customer service for the dealership, served as emcee.

"That was the only balloon that was sticking up out of all of the bouquest of balloons, and I did think the whole time, I’m like, ‘I’m going to pick that balloon if it’s still there, and if I get my name drawn, that’s the balloon I’m going for’ because it was different than the rest of them," she said.

Her hunch was a good one because the card inside the envelope had Z28 written on it. The moment was captured live on the dealership’s Facebook page.

"You see on that video (Starkey) kept saying, ‘Are you excited?’ and I’m like, ‘I’m very excited,’" Hackney said. "That’s all that I could say. I’m like, ‘I’m so shocked about it.’"

Shortly after, she called her dad and shared the news.

"I called him and I’m like, ‘Hey, I really just won that car.’ My dad said, ‘No you didn’t,’ and I said, ‘Yes, I did,’" Hackney said. "They didn’t believe me at all, but my mom instantly got online and rewound that video. She told my dad while I was still on the phone, ‘She really did just win that car.’"

Her confidence and positivity proved to be the winning combination.

"I guess maybe you’ve just got to spout it out," she said, laughing.

Hackney said this was her first big win.

"A few times at the casino, I’ve won a little bit, but I’ve never really won anything, and I don’t ever put in on any of that stuff (drawings). Maybe I should now," she said, smiling. "We should have driven to the casino as soon as I won and kept my luck going."

After signing the paperwork, Hackney drove away from the dealership in her new ride — the shiny black Z28 with black interior and black wheels.

"Then we cruised the wheels off of it," she said, smiling. "We drove it all Saturday and Sunday."

On Saturday night, she drove it to Seymour to pick up pizza.

"’Honk, honk’ is what I’m hearing, and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh!’" she said of people recognizing the car from Poynter’s advertisement of the car and contest. "My dad has had old cars before, but not anything that nice. You feel pretty cool in a Camaro versus the Traverse."

On Sunday, she drove the Z28 to her parents’ house.

"I tried to get my dad to drive it on Sunday, but he didn’t want to," she said. "I always borrowed his (Ford) Ranger. I always go out there and get it whenever I want to have a weekend in it, so he was like, ‘Hey, when I need a weekend in that car, I’m just going to come and get it.’"

Hackney said she plans to drive the car leisurely on weekends.

"I do house cleaning, so my cleaning supplies won’t fit in there, but I probably would drive it just as a Sunday cruiser," she said.

Winning also meant a lot to Hackney because she has bought several vehicles from Poynter over the years. Plus, she knows the man who sold the Z28 to Poynter to give away, Greg Benton of Clearspring.

Starkey said he went to Dayton, Ohio, and Indianapolis a couple of times in search of a GM sports car that was popular around the time Poynter opened in Seymour in 1979.

"We wanted a Z28 or we wanted a Trans Am. That was the only cars that we looked at," he said.

Starkey almost gave up on trying to find one until a friend told him about Benton selling his father’s Z28. That was just in time because they wanted to start the contest for the car at the Jackson County Fair at the end of July.

"It runs and drives absolutely perfect," Starkey said. "The other ones we looked at were rougher than that and were worth more money."

There were nearly 250 finalists to win the car. After signing in Saturday, they anxiously waited to see if their name was called to come onstage to pick a balloon and open an envelope.

"Only one person was going to win the car, but 39 others were going to win really nice giveaway items," Starkey said.

The dealership was happy with people’s response to the contest.

"No matter where I go, people say, ‘Oh, I want to win that car,’" Starkey said. "I knew the excitement that would build. It’s something that everybody wants. You could give away a lease on a car and that would be OK, but a classic car, it fits real well with our 40 years. It was just the perfect fit."

It fits well for Hackney, too.

"I love it. I just love it," she said.

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