Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Exclamation Point Costs Texter $1000

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Oh, no! Don't forget the exclamation point! It could cost you $1,000! Kevin Taylor, 30, of Minneapolis, lost out on a $1,000 first prize in a text messaging contest at the North Dakota State Fair because he forgot the punctuation mark at the end of a phrase that he and his sudden-death competitor had to enter.

So he settled for $200.

Beth Brevik, 32, of Minot, ended up with the big prize at Saturday's contest, tapping out the phrase: "I hope I win the grand prize of $1,000 so I can buy a new phone. Whoo!"

"I was very lucky," she said.

Brevik and Taylor finished ahead of 38 competitors, many of them teenagers. Organizers said the contest was patterned after a similar event in New York, where a 13-year-old girl won $50,000.

Phrases were posted on a screen that contestants text-messaged to the judges, who verified the answers for accuracy. The contest was sponsored by a cell phone company.

Brevik said she thought she lost when Taylor put his phone down in the final round. Seconds later, Taylor realized his mistake and exclaimed, "Oh, no!"

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