The Twit Crew from the Ellen DeGeneres Show stopped in Tucson on Wednesday, recorded a portion of the show and handed out 10K in prizes: 90 $100 gas cards and one $1000 gas card.
Her Twit Crew (short for Twitter crew) is traveling across the country and making surprise stops along the way. Prizes are often gas cards, but there is a chance to win a brand new GMC Terrain.
Twitter messages are sent from Ellen, alerting followers of locations. Early Wednesday a message was sent identifying Tucson as the next stop. Around 1:00 p.m. another message was sent telling followers to go to the Shell gas station on Speedway & Alvernon at 4:30 p.m. with a current O Magazine (with Ellen and Oprah on the cover) and to subscribe to the ThisIsGMC Twitter feed. Once at the location, Ellen would give participants instructions to “do” something to win a bigger prize.
I stopped at a drug store on the east side of town and grabbed a magazine before heading to the station in central Tucson. When the clerk saw the magazine, she simpy asked, “You going?” “Yes,” I replied. She closed her eyes and nodded and handed me the magazine as if it were an ancient scripture. It was obvious she really wanted to go.
My friends and I arrived an hour early and missed out on the first 90 prizes. A couple hundred people were already there. I overheard a crew member say they had expected only 50ish people and they were surprised by the turnout. I think by the end of the event, there could have been 500 people there. Maybe they didn’t think we have Twitter in the Old Pueblo.
There was quite a bit of waiting and finally the big moment came where we became a live remote location and Ellen spoke to us. She said hello to Tucson. We screamed. Then she gave the instructions: Come back in a bathing suit and cowboy hat. The first one back would get a $1000 gas card.
Hundreds of people flocked across Speedway and Alvernon á la “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”
They returned as requested – in bathing suits and cowboy hats. There were even men in bikinis. One person creatively fashioned a cowboy hat out of a silver car sunshade.
In the end, it was Frank Landino in flame swim trunks and a green cowboy hat with a light-up tiara and feathers who was awarded the $1000 gas card.
His wife, Christina Landino, says, “It was really quite an accident that he came about winning.” They discovered the contest not via Twitter but because they live next door to the gas station and Kat had walked over to buy a soda and heard Ellen’s voice over the speakers giving the instructions.
She ran back home and told her husband to throw on a swimsuit and put on her sister-in-law’s cowboy hat. When all was said and done, this was the result:
His wife says, “He’s such a ball of energy anyway — this was right up his alley!” Congratulations Frank!