SOUTHINGTON, Ohio (WKBN) – There are many different events on any true sports fan’s “bucket list.”
One of them would have to be getting to watch the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four in person. A Trumbull County couple will get to take the trip of a lifetime next month to do just that.
Michael and Mary Smith of Southington were sitting in their van when they heard about an AT&T contest on the radio. The announcer said “Text the word “four” for a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to this year’s Final Four in Texas.
“I had my phone in my hand, so I said ‘what do I got to lose?’ So I went ahead and sent the text in. It said ‘good luck.’ And about a month later, I got a phone call asking if I was the one who sent the text in. I said yes and he said ‘congratulations, you’re a winner!’,” Michael Smith said.
“I couldn’t believe it. At first I honestly thought ‘scam.’ But once they confirmed everything, I got excited,” Mary Smith said.
The AT&T contest website says the odds of winning the grand prize trip depends on the number of eligible entries received. Michael said he was told 1,400 people entered in Ohio alone and thousands nationwide. Those odds are still better than the one in 9.2 quintillion of picking a perfect bracket.
But the Smith’s favorite school and squad won’t be making the trip with them to Texas. Ohio State lost its opening game Thursday afternoon.
“When they emailed me all the information on the flights, it was right after Ohio State had lost to Dayton and they even actually sent me an email that said ‘sorry about the Buckeyes,’” Michael said.
Mary’s birthday is April 1 and the couple hasn’t really taken a trip like this in the nearly two years they have been married.
“Our honeymoon was to Cleveland. It was exciting for us, but it wasn’t nothing like this,” Michael said.
The Smiths leave April 4 and return April 8.
Michael said the final four teams he filled out in his bracket are all still alive: Florida, Michigan State, Arizona and Louisville. The Final Four tips off April 5 and the championship game is April 7.