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VisitPittsburgh Awards Biggest Steelers Fan Contes

VisitPittsburgh Awards Biggest Steelers Fan Contest
Winners in Panama City, FL; Oklahoma and Colorado

PITTSBURGH - Forget Steelers shrines. Instead, try Steelers weddings. And cars. And houses.  In what could be called the Craziest Steelers Fan Contest, VisitPittsburgh announced its top winner for the Biggest Steelers Fan Contest today.

The winner, Tina Kunst of Panama City Beach, Fla., wrote about her "Steelers Wedding" in May 2007. "We have a giant Steeler helmet which we used as the alter... I had a full Steeler yellow wedding gown and my husband wore a tux with a Steeler tie. All the bridesmaids wore black with Steeler yellow jewelry. The ESPN theme was the bridal party march and when I walked down the aisle, the FOX NFL Sunday theme played. Our reception was in a sports bar that had nine 60-inch wide screen TVs that played Super Bowl XL. We had a Steeler cake topper for our cake and I (wore) a Steeler garder as well." Photo attached.

In addition, Tina and her husband, Michael, have started a Steelers Fan Club that has grown from three people to nearly 50. Their black Rav 4 has a Steelers yellow pinstripe, Steelers' tire cover, Steelers' mats and Steelers' dice hanging from the mirror. They also own a black and yellow scooter with a Steelers sticker on the front and Steelers' license plate cover. Their living room and kitchen is Steelers' themed. And, their black-haired poodle is named Bettis.

Tina will receive two tickets to a future Steelers' home game, a Steelers jersey and a Super Bowl XL Game Football, complements of VisitPittsburgh.

VisitPittsburgh received more than 300 photo submissions and stories for the Biggest Steelers Fan Contest. Entries came from across Steelers Nation, including the states of Virginia, Florida, New York, Texas, Maryland and California. 

"This illustrates just how passionate Steelers fans are throughout the country. There are no more devoted fans in the world than Pittsburgh Steelers fans," said Craig Davis, vice president of sales and marketing for VisitPittsburgh. The stories and photos were so good that VisitPittsburgh selected two runners up for the contest.

The first runner-up entry came from Colorado. Johnny Dabovich says he has "no roots to Pittsburgh," but has been restoring a 1987 Jeep that has murals of Pittsburgh Steelers players airbrushed on it. The driver's side is painted with new players, while the passenger side is "old school." "All our dogs' names have had something to do with Pittsburgh, and now our Akita is named Malu," wrote Johnny, who has collected hundreds of pieces of Steelers memorabilia which he displays in his home.

The second runner-up is Kaylee Dojcak of Oklahoma. Kaylee who wrote a three-page letter about her father, Michael Dojcak, who was raised in West Mifflin. "Every time he sees a person wearing something Steelers no matter where we are, he makes sure he is talking to them about the team and inviting them to join the fan club," wrote Kaylee. The "Biggest Steelers Nation Fan Club in Oklahoma" has grown to more than 300 members. For this year's Super Bowl, her dad has ordered Iron City Beer, and will be having a tailgate party in an Oklahoma City parking lot where fans can eat "traditional Pittsburgh foods" while watching the game on two big screen TVs and a projection screen.

Other entries were interesting, if not superstitious. Linda Fisher, a violinist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and self-proclaimed "die hard Steeler fan," submitted a photo in front of her decorated locker at Heinz Hall. "Each Christmas a small group of musicians from the PSO goes to the Steelers practice facility in the morning to serenade them with Christmas carols before their morning practice. This has put us in the playoffs for the past two years, and this year in the Super Bowl, so we will definitely have to keep up the tradition."

For home games, Susan Gibson, a vice president of Joan Rivers Worldwide, travels from her apartment in mid-town Manhattan to her brother's home in Pittsburgh. For away games, Susan joins her Steelers' friends in Manhattan - who have become her New York family - at the Public House to watch the games. On Christmas Eve, Susan hosts her Pittsburgh Steelers family in her apartment for dinner. And, whenever she can, she brings these Steelers to Pittsburgh to enjoy a game at Heinz Field and shows them the multicultural charm of Pittsburgh.

"The stories from across Steelers Nation were simply amazing," said Davis. "We were touched by many of the entries."

One seventh grader from Pittsburgh wants to start a non-profit organization to help all kids in the inner city schools to get Steelers jerseys. "I was wondering if a flyer could be sent home to the students at Jefferson Middle School... asking them to bring in their Steelers jerseys that they have outgrown. The donated jerseys would go to a charter school in Homestead where 93 percent of the students who attend the school are living in poverty," wrote Kevin Hudson.

VisitPittsburgh is the official tourism marketing and promotion agency of the Pittsburgh region. It is dedicated to generating convention, trade show and leisure travel business for the Pittsburgh region.