Hays woman wins 'super' vacation
By RANDY GONZALES
By RANDY GONZALES
She didn't get a Snickers bar, but Amanda Wray did get a sweeter deal: a trip to the Super Bowl to watch her beloved Broncos.
Wray, a legal secretary for Clinkscales Elder Law Practice, found out in early November she won the grand prize in a contest drawing sponsored by Mars Inc. She and her husband, Marcus, will drive to Kansas City, Mo., then fly Jan. 31 to New Jersey for a four-day, three-night, expenses paid trip to watch Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.
It all started in September, when Wray -- who is a big couponer -- entered an online contest through Kroger to try to win a free candy bar at Dillons, where she shops. She won a Snickers last year and thought she might win again.
"I wasn't even trying to win the grand prize, honestly," Wray said. "I was just trying to win a coupon, because I had won one the year prior."
On Nov. 6, Wray received an email telling her the original grand prize winner didn't claim the prize, and in a second-chance drawing, she had won the Super Bowl package.
"I thought it was spam, called Kroger on my lunch break" to check it out, Wray said.
Wray soon found out the prize was legit. Her reaction?
"Holy crap," she said with a laugh.
While Wray is a die-hard Broncos fan, her husband cheers for the Dallas Cowboys. Marcus' team didn't make the playoffs, but the Broncos were the top-seeded team in their conference.
"On egg shells the rest of the season," Wray said of hoping her team would make it to the Super Bowl once she found out she had won the contest. "I still can't believe it's even happening."
On Sunday, the Broncos were home against the rival New England Patriots, one win away from going to the Super Bowl. Wray and her husband had a viewing party, just like any other Sunday, when they invite friends to watch the game.
"It was stressful," Wray said. "I was a nervous wreck.
"I had every Bronco thing I own on. I had a challenge flag my dad gave me for Christmas. I was ready to go."
Wray got her football fanaticism -- and love for the Broncos -- from her father. He grew up in Wyoming, and always rooted for the Broncos.
"He used to call me his little Elway, because my favorite thing to do as a kid was play catch with my dad," Wray said. "He said I threw a perfect spiral, called me little Elway" after the former Broncos Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway.
Wray, who said she is a highly organized person -- she saved $580 last year in digital coupons from Kroger alone -- planned their weekend in New York on Monday night. She booked tours Saturday, the day before the big game, with plans to visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the 9/11 memorial and the Empire State Building.
Wray also will have her picture taken with the Vince Lombardi trophy and plans to visit the site of ESPN's Super Bowl broadcasts. Her dream is to meet former Broncos Tom Jackson and Chris Berman. They are staying at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square, and FOX network will have its set just below their hotel room.
Wray won't predict a final score; she just hopes the Broncos win, for Peyton Manning and other veterans such as Champ Bailey. She does have a number she wants to see reached in the game.
"I want Peyton Manning to say, 'Omaha, Omaha,' 48 times, same number as the Super Bowl," she said.
Wray, 25, and her husband have no children; just two cats her sister will look after while they are gone for a trip of a lifetime.
Wray remembers her father saying it will be tough to top two tickets to the Super Bowl. She said she agreed, but then had a thought.
"The next best thing, maybe I can have a little Denver Bronco of my own," she said. "I think that's the only way I can top this."