Headed to the 'Red Carpet' : "Along the Way"

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We all have hobbies and things we do just for fun.
For one Rapid City woman, part of that fun, includes entering contests.
And, recently she won her biggest prize of all.
So what does she like about contests and what did she win? Answers, as we go "Along the Way" right here in Rapid City.

Linda and Tom Berger have been happily married for almost 35 years, and like so many couples they both work full time. But for fun, Linda is a contest fan, and has been for the past 3 decades or more.

Linda Berger of Rapid City says, "They're a blast. You never know. You can't win if you don't try. For me it's kind of like an entertainment of it's own."

Tom Berger, Linda's Husband says, "I'm not a contest guy. I leave all of that up to Linda cause I have horrible luck."

She's quick to tell us, she doesn't win em all. But sometimes, she does win.

Linda Berger holds up a pot and says, "It's a cookwear set I won in 1995. It was on the Regis and Kathie Lee show at that time."

Linda holds up a book and says, "So I got to go meet Reba McIntyre and she actually autographed my book that I had at the time, and she loves me. It says 'Love, Reba McEntire."

Linda holds up a board game and says, "I won a whole box full of games for the family, so probably a half a dozen."

And while they both love movies, Linda is the bigger fan of all things Hollywood. She's had a subscription to people magazine since they got married, that's over 3 decades.

Tom Berger, Linda's Husband says, "It's an opportunity for her to open the magazine and to see what the celebrities are doing to catch up on the gossip."

The Oscars are coming up this Sunday, and in the Berger home, Oscar day is bigger than the Super Bowl. Check out all her Oscar books. Linda even makes her own projections.

Linda says, "Typically I'll check the Director's Guild, you know, the SAG Awards, the People's Choice, the Producer's Guild, all of them to see who's won the award and then I kind of crunch my numbers. I mean it's really a scientific thing."

And a thing she's wanted to be part of for a long time, entering contests to win seats as a bleacher creature, in other words, sitting along the red carpet, for again, about 30 years.

She says, "Cause I've never been in a ball gown. I mean I didn't go to my Prom or anything. So to me to watch all these people and to look at their jewelry. I mean it's fun. That's you know, that's fun. The bling is fun. And to see what they're wearing and who they're wearing and who they came with and who they leave with."

But she says it's a lottery system, and her number never came up. Heck, this year People magazine even had a link you could click to enter once a day, which Linda did. But guess what, this time was different.

"Well it's almost like an out of body experience after trying for so many years to win something and never winning, it just seems almost too good to be true," Linda says.

She got an e-mail, as exciting as opening an envelope at the Oscars. This year, Linda and her husband would be Red Carpet bound. They even had shirts made to represent Rapid City in Hollywood. But first, Affidavits, a publicity release, background checks and strict time limits to comply, all of which they finished and passed.

Linda says, "And like they say in Hollywood, you just lift this little guy and say 'Action'."

The prize does not include airfare, or hotel, but the Bergers don't care because on Oscar day they'll be there. And on that day, People provides them breakfast and lunch, and when the glitzy glamorous stars get inside their theater, and the snapshots are done, the bleacher creatures are treated to dinner and a private viewing party at a different theater.

She says,"Ya know, from a girl from Rapid City, South Dakota to be able to go to 'LaLa Land' you know and hang out with the stars for a day. It's something I'll never forget."

Because Oscar day is a day for winners, and this Sunday that includes the Berger's of Rapid City."

So they fly out of Denver on Saturday.
It's an estimated prize package of a thousand dollars.
The big day is of course Sunday, when they'll be in the bleachers, taking pictures of stars they've only seen in magazines and movies.
And Linda showed me a 35 millimeter camera and a box of Fuji film and says she plans to shoot pictures on every roll.

If you've met someone cool "Along the Way" please call us or e-mail me at stevel@blackhillsfox.com to let me know.