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Hays couple will cruise after Herzogfest

8/14/2012

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

For years, Leroy and Rita Gottschalk have made a habit of attending Herzogfest, the late-summer festival in Victoria.

It's a short drive from Hays, and it gives the couple a chance to visit with old friends, enjoy some polka music and, Rita added with a laugh, "Leroy always wants to get his hamburger."

This year definitely was worth the trip for the Gottschalks, who celebrated their 57th anniversary in July.

They went home with an anniversary, Christmas and birthday gift all wrapped in one.

Rita's name was called as one of the top 10 finalists for the Cruising Through Summer Party Cruise Giveaway sponsored by Eagle Radio, Hull Broadcasting and Western Beverage.

After the first nine names were pulled out of a bucket, Rita was the last one standing, earning her the four-day, three-night cruise for two to the Bahamas.

"I was really surprised," Rita said of even being in the top 10, let alone the winner. "I was really wanting to win the ring they were giving away."

That ring actually had been given away earlier in the contest, but Rita said she would settle for the November vacation.

Of the hundreds of people who registered during the summer giveaway program, 60 names were drawn as finalists for the cruise.

Those 60 were summoned to Victoria for the drawing -- they had to be present to win -- and nearly 50 showed up to re-register.

"I didn't think I had a chance at winning it, but I thought since we were going to Herzogfest anyway, I might as well throw my name in," Rita said.

Funny thing was, Rita didn't even actually register for the contest the first time around.

Her name was thrown into the pot for correctly answering a question on the radio one morning.

"I called in and knew the answer, and they told me I was a contestant for some contest," said Rita, who added she didn't really think about it again until she received the letter telling her she was one of the 60 cruise finalists.

"I thought I'd be one of the first ones drawn," she said of the 10 finalists who were called to the front of the crowd in Victoria.

"Then when it got down to the last two, I thought, 'Oh, my word, I've got a chance.' "

The Gottschalks have been on cruises before, but never to the Bahamas.

"It's kind of exciting," Rita said. "I'm looking forward to it."