Snafu shakes up Hattiesburg ATV contest

Published 4:44 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Hattiesburg business tried this past weekend to give away a new all-terrain vehicle to one lucky customer. The only problem was there were 10 lucky customers.

Ten keys were drawn during Saturday’s one-day sales event at Hattiesburg Cycles. The 10 individuals tested his or her key on the ATV. Only one key would turn on the ATV, store representatives promised more than 1,000 customers who came to the event.

All 10 keys worked, however.

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“We don’t know (how it happened),” store owner Larry Myatt said Monday. “It was supposed to be nine (keys) that wouldn’t crank the engine and then one that would.”

Nine keys were copied from a different ATV, Myatt said, to differentiate the keys.

After apologizing to the 10 contestants and gathering them into a separate room, Myatt said he placed each of their names into a hat and drew one name, announcing the winner.

Myatt was unable to identify the winner who took the ATV home.

“We discussed it with everyone and said this is what we need to do to make it fair,” Myatt said. “Everyone agreed (with the decision).”

At least one customer wasn’t happy.

Petal resident Cheri Reus was the second customer to get a key to the ATV and said she is disappointed she did not win.

“It’s just a big disappointment because my key worked, and that’s what we were promised — if your key works, you get the ATV,” she said.

Reus, who said she has complained to the attorney general’s office, said all 10 customers should have been given an ATV because each of their keys worked.

Myatt said he did what he thought was best.

“What would you have done?” he said. “The people that came out of that room said it was the fairest thing we could do.”