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Giveaway's winner picks up her prize

May 08, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Although she recently won a pickup truck and last year won a trip to Cancun, Nichole Rivera said she has no plans to try her luck in the casinos when her family visits Las Vegas later this year.

Rivera, 41, who lives south of Hagerstown, said she doesn't think she's had a lot of good luck. She just picks up contest entry forms when she sees them and feels like filling them out, she said.

She won the Cancn trip by mailing in a Coca-Cola contest entry she saw in a store.

"The chances are not good, but if you don't put it in, you know you're not going to win," Rivera said.

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Taking two chances in the GM Hot Button Request Game resulted in her picking up a free brand new 2004 black Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck on Friday.

Linda Dever-Worden, a sales consultant at Hoffman Chevrolet Oldsmobile Cadillac, said 1,000 vehicles were given away for the contest, which had 58 winners in Maryland.

Although Rivera was notified via mail in March that she won the pickup, Rivera said Friday she still was having trouble believing she had won.

"I guess I really won't believe it until I can drive it on the street," said Rivera, who is a community detention worker for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services.

In February, Rivera stopped at Hoffman Chevrolet Oldsmobile Cadillac on Edgewood Drive to take a chance at winning a vehicle by hitting the OnStar button in a car.

Rivera struck out, but mailed an entry to a second-chance contest after seeing a card on the car about another way to win, she said.

Rivera said she learned she'd won when her daughter, Lisa Berry, called her at work in March to tell her she had a UPS delivery waiting at home. Rivera told her daughter to open the letter and it read, "Congratulations! You are a potential winner ..."

Red tape was the only thing between Rivera and a new pickup truck at that point.

"I said, 'Oh my goodness!' and started yelling," Rivera said. "I can't believe I won a vehicle."

Hoffman President and General Manager Ed Zayas handed Rivera the keys Friday and, after Dever-Worden drove the balloon-decorated pickup most of the way through the showroom's door, Rivera got behind the wheel and drove it into the parking lot.

Rivera said she plans to keep the pickup, which has an actual price of $20,285.

"I'm going to drive it," Rivera said. "This is something - a once in a lifetime thing."

That means that one day Lisa, 14, probably will get to drive the Kia Optima her mother has been driving, Rivera said.

Rivera and her husband, Roger, who have six other grown children between them, also have a Chevrolet Astro van and a Toyota Tacoma pickup they bought last year to haul trash to the landfill and to move things, Rivera said.

They plan to sell the Tacoma so they won't have to make those payments, Rivera said.

The Silverado is bigger than the Tacoma, and the cab should have room for all three of them, she said.

Dever-Worden said the pickup has an 8-foot-long truck bed, automatic headlights and dual air conditioning controls, which Rivera's husband likes.

"I'm always cold and she's always hot," Roger Rivera said. "We can't agree what temperature to keep the house."

The truck is not entirely free.

The couple will have to pay taxes and fees, including income tax on the pickup, estimated at approximately $5,000 to $6,000.

Rivera said that's "still a good deal. Beats a car payment."

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