Most people do not pay attention to radio contests when they are driving or listening at work. There are some who live for radio contests, but never win. Then, there are the few who actually get through and win. I would consider myself in the lucky category. When I hear of a contest I like, I pull up the local radio station on my speed dial and listen for the cue.
In August of 2014, a local radio station was having a contest in which you had a chance to zip-line with Paramore. When I heard about it, I became super excited. The deal was, when you hear Hayley’s voice, you had to call in. If you were caller nine, you automatically won a pair of tickets to the show and you were entered for the grand prize. I had tried several times with many failed attempts. It was last day of the promotion, but I never gave up. I was on my way to work when I heard the cue. I hit the speed dial button and it began to ring. It is always a good sign when you do not hear the busy signal. When I heard the radio DJ’s voice at the end of the line say “Hello, “I knew I was caller nine. Most of the time you hear, “caller #” and they hang up. The DJ took my information and she put me on the air. It is always fun to hear yourself on the radio. I was just happy I got through and won tickets.
It was a Friday morning when they were going to announce the grand prize winner. We are not really supposed to be listening to the radio, but I turned it on really low. The night before the announcement, I had a really good feeling. I was thinking positive thoughts and I was psyching myself up for what could be. When I heard the DJ announce my name, I jumped up and down and started dancing! I went from room to room telling everyone I could that I had just won a contest where I was going to zip-line with my favorite band. Of course, they were all happy for me.
I could not sleep the night before. It might have been a mix of the humidity and the endless stream of “Ain’t it Fun” playing through my head. Though I set my alarm clock, I didn’t need it. Pure adrenaline woke me from my half comatose state. I hopped out of bed and began to prepare for the day. Well, tried to anyway.
I was able to bring a guest, so I chose my sister who was visiting for the week. I picked her up and we were on our way to Montage. I was anxiously excited. Being paranoid and overdramatic, we arrived early. My sister and I had time to ease our nerves at the bar. After our drink, we met up with a DJ from the radio station and the other winners. They seemed cool and just as pumped.
The lift ride up was one of the most suspenseful parts of the whole experience. Millions of thoughts raced through my head. “What am I going to ask?” “What am I going to say?” The DJ actually calmed my nerves a little bit because it was funny that she was afraid of heights. Talking to her helped me take my mind off the thought of zipping down a mountain.
When I finally saw Hayley, Jeremy, and Taylor coming up the lift, the butterflies in my chest began to flutter faster. When they stepped off the lift and walked toward us, I took a deep breath and told myself, “this isn’t a dream. This is actually happening.” I felt like it happened in slow motion.
They were exceptionally cool and down to earth. There was no “Rock Star” stink to them that seems to follow a great deal of musicians. They came up to us and greeted us like we were friends. It was quite buggy at the top of the mountain. Jeremy picked up a stick and start waving it back and forth to keep the bugs out of his face. What “Rock Star” would do that? They were normal people who happen to travel the world performing in front of tens of thousands of people daily. No big deal. They were just as excited to go zip-lining. Well, Taylor was hesitant. He wasn’t a big fan of heights.
I am glad we had time to talk to them and hang out. We had time to take pictures and get our golden “selfies” taken. As Taylor Swift said, (I might be paraphrasing) “Selfies are the new autograph.” I updated all my social media accounts to my selfie with Hayley. It was much better than a meet and greet. We actually had time to get to know them a little bit. Which I am most grateful for.
When I get nervous, I tend to nervously ramble. I was able to contain myself. I had asked Hayley if she had done anything else like this before. She told me they had actually gone skydiving. I told Jeremy that I was bummed because I found out he was married. I was talking to Taylor about his tattoos. I don’t remember half the things I said. I blacked out because I was just so excited to be standing in front of them.
Finally, it was time to take the plunge. Taylor chickened out and headed back down the mountain. Anticipation and suspense was building as we climbed to the top of the spiral staircase. Taking in the view at the top brought a sense of relaxation, but only for a hot second. It wasn’t until we were strapped into the chairs where my heart almost burst. Having the chance to talk to Hayley and Jeremy slowly brought my heart rate down. I had joked with Hayley that she should sing “Hallelujah” at the end.
We were strapped to a harness with our need pressed up against the gate. The technician counted backwards and when the gate opened, all of the fear drifted away. A sense of elation filled my lungs as I tried not to scream. I let out a couple Wooohss and Yeahs as I looked back at Hayley and Jeremy. As we came to a screeching halt, I was relieved to see that my seat had remained dry. Haha! I looked over to see Hayley, Jeremy, and Morgan (the other contest winner). They all had smiles on their face. It was just a great experience to experience with them.
I am also very grateful for the time we spent with them waiting for the DJ and my sister to come down. I don’t remember what we talked about. I was in a daze. In the end, we got another group picture and they were off to sound check.
In retrospect, it is an experience I will never forget. The time getting to know my favorite band just a little bit better was something you could never put a price on. They truly made me feel like I was a part of Paramore. I was a part of something that was bigger than myself. They honestly are an amazing band that put on one hell of a show. They genuinely care about their fans and are grateful for their experiences.