Students compete for Apple iPad in Mabee texting competition

Richard Kelly

Frantically tapping out words correctly never had so much importance.

In the first annual Washburn texting competition sponsored by the Student Friends of Mabee Library, 22 contestants had the opportunity to win a free Apple iPad if they could be the fastest and most accurate texter.

It was designed so that a single message would be displayed on a lounge TV in Mabee, and all the contestants would sit with phones at their sides until they’re given the word to text away. They sent their messages to the “ask a librarian” number that Mabee Library has introducted. The individual who could then complete the message the fastest and also have everything spelled and capitalized correctly would win.

After two warm-up rounds, elimination rounds began, finishing with a final round of five individuals who had a shot at the prize. As the final puzzle “My fingers are FASTER than yours I win I win I win” was displayed, it appeared Washburn freshman David Hutchinson or junior Blake Bryant would be victorious. However, Hutchison had a misspelling in his message, leaving Bryant as the winner of the iPad.

Bryant’s excitement led him to one thought.

“I’m going to call my mom,” said Bryant.

He also knows the life of texting, sending over 5,000 text messages a month.

“I would say that I text 7,000-10,000 (messages) a month,” said Bryant. “And my best friend’s deaf so we can only really communicate via text. She sends 30,000 a month.”

And while calling does still exist, texting is becoming increasingly popular yearly. Lori Rognlie, a Mabee Library Assistant, saw this and used it to help create the idea for the event.

“Last spring, on the homecoming committee, I really pushed to get the mini-golf in the library and then (Washburn Student Government Association vice-president) Lucas (Mullin) said we need something with a ‘wow factor’ to go with it,” said Rognlie. “We had been talking about food, but as I was thinking about that, I noticed everybody was texting as I was walking across campus. So I said, ‘we’ve got to do a text messaging contest.'”

Rognlie then went and researched and found the Kansas State Fair had done a texting competition and somewhat based Washburn’s competition off of it. She was satisfied with the event overall after not knowing exactly how to plan.

“I was flying by the seat of my pants here,” said Rognlie. “I don’t text very often. It takes me forever to text. So, I’m really glad it was the success that it was. But there are always things to improve if we do it again.”

Rognlie went on to say that she thought people enjoyed the contest and would do it again in the future, especially after what she learned through watching the event shape out.

And for Bryant, his ultimate goal was to see just how quickly he could actually text. But, winning an iPad was definitely in the back of his head. He has messed around with them a fair share of recent.

“Oh my gosh, I played with (Student Activities and Greek Life president) Marsha Carrasco Cooper’s (iPad) last night for an hour,” said Bryant. “I do have an iPod Touch but I have an mp3 player on my phone, so I’m going to use my phone for texting and mp3 and my iPad to take notes and I’ll bring it to class to be my French translator.”