Hollywood (CA) - This past Saturday, over 30 contestants warmed up their thumbs to compete in LG Mobile’s National Texting Competition – the first ever text messaging competition. Held at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, participants signed up for a chance to win a total of $25,000 for their dexterous thumbs.
The event was open to the public and roughly 100 people attended with about a third actually competing. Participants could only use a LG enV or LG V mobile phone, which made use of the QWERTY keypad for the contest. Meanwhile, spectators were given various LG paraphernalia, including headbands, wristbands, and giant foam hands to show support.
The event was set up in a TV game-show style, complete with a colorful stage and a host - Oliver “Ali” Nejad, a renowned Poker Player and host. In the first round, players were placed in groups of 3-4 per table and asked to program their referee’s mobile number into their phone. Officials then displayed a short sentence on large plasma screens hanging above and contestants were instructed to begin texting as quickly and as accurately as possible before hitting the “Send” button to text the referee. After the first round, 8 contestants advanced to the semi-finals.
The semi-finals and finals were held on a stage and cameras circled the contestants as the host entertained the crowd in true game-show fashion. After three rounds of furious texting, Eli Torosh emerged victorious as the West Coast LG Texting Champion! The 21-year-old from Los Angeles just graduated college and expressed, “I’m so excited right now! I had no idea I would win. I don’t even know what to think.” Torosh’s prize included $10,000, a trip to New York, and the chance to win an additional $15,000 in the national competition later this month.
Texting has become increasingly popular in recent years and the idea of a contest for this new way of communicating could not have come at a better time. Jason Swinford, the Entertainment Marketing Manager for LG Electronics MobileComm USA, explained, “Texting has become a core for our business. We were texting at a meeting and we thought, let’s make a game out of it.”
Contestants were certainly well-prepared as some had been texting for as long as 7 years and had various methods of preparing for the contest. Leonard Ross from Inglewood, CA competed alongside a friend and explained, “We’ve been texting each other, copying things off of signs. I’ve also been practicing with symbols and I’ve got the apostrophes down now.”
Not all was lost for those that did not advance to the next rounds as LG Mobile gave away four 42” LG plasma-screen televisions that were similar to the screens used in the contest. Other lucky contestants won $1,000 each in a cash giveaway and $50 Best Buy gift cards. Now fans will have to sit back and wait until April 21st, when the West Coast champion will meet up with the East Coast champion to battle for a national title. And for you couch potatoes, keep your eyes peeled as this new game show may become part of your nightly television line-up.