Phew! That was quite a week. On the scale of vacations, gambling trips, and overall great times- my experience at the Peppermill Reno these past five days is sitting squarely at the top. I'm not sure how to recap this in any kind of succinct fashion, so I'll just start going and break up the posts as necessary.
Let's go back to the beginning. I've been to the Peppermill a solid 12 times over the years. In fact, counting this last contest winning trip, I've been to there 4 times in the last 7 weeks. This is unusual, but I did pretty well in gambling each time, so there was really no reason to cut myself off. Whether I was tagging along with my buddies for a Poker weekend, or going up with Mrs. B. and other couples, it has been a blast.
Since we go to the Peppermill pretty often, I try to really make myself aware of all the available promotions that they have. Awhile back, they had a video contest that I meant to enter, but got lazy and didn't come up with anything. When I saw the promos for the "Be The High Roller" contest, I thought it was something I could really do. Essentially, all you had to do was fill out the decently long application, upload a picture, and upload a video of yourself explaining why you should "be the high roller" at the Peppermill.
I filled out the application and didn't have a video to go with it. I don't know why I even tried to do this, but I uploaded a video of my playing "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. I think it was to complete the application in entirety and I figured I'd create a different video later. I was quickly denied because the video was longer than 3 minutes, and said nothing about the Peppermill (not to mention and rights issues with the song!)
Later that week I was doing a model shoot for my boss highlighting the venues on the UC Davis campus and how they could be utilized. I am not a model of any sort normally, but taking a few photos highlighting venues seemed like it would be no problem (and of course, it ended up being fine.) The Putah Creek Lodge was set up as a club scene for an adult birthday party and I had brought my computer in my backpack to check my email while I was away from the office. I had been keeping my Kodak video camera in my backpack (mostly for live music video making purposes) and I mentioned that I should shoot a video for the "Be The High Roller" contest. Mrs. B. and our friend Katrina (who came with us to the Peppermill) enthusiastically encouraged me, and my boss let us quickly shoot the video. I came up with a short but loose idea spoofing the Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man In The World." Since we were all dressed up for a classy birthday party, I got Mrs. B., Katrina, and two of the other lovely models to surround me on the couch. We did about 3 takes and it took less than 5 minutes (obviously, we weren't trying to waste work time.) I edited the best take on my Macbook (I have no video editing experience so it was just basic fades and graphics.) I thought it turned out well, but it was fairly short, so I thought an additional video would be helpful.
The following week, we had another shoot the day after Lebron James' "Decision" show. While we were modeling to show off our new Conference Center, I edited a script that spoofed Lebron's announcement that he was "taking his talents to South Beach." I, of course, planned to "take my talents to the Peppermill Reno." I asked for five minutes of everyone's time, put up a Power Point slide behind me to make my press conference look somewhat official, and got everyone to applaud at certain points during the announcement. The camera flashes were such a nice touch. We did a few takes, and once again it took probably between 5 and 10 minutes, but looked pretty solid. I'm assuming if you read my blog, you have seen the video, but here it is in all its glory:
I submitted my new videos and this time they were approved, and I was happy with the results. I got into the contest relatively early, which was great, but as time went by, more and more people submitted profiles. I thought my submission was strong, but at no point did I think I was actually going to win.
I was honored when I was selected as one of the five finalists. I couldn't believe I was in the final group of five people in what was essentially a creativity and popularity contest. I was beaming from ear to ear the entire day the five finalists were announced. I now needed people to "Join My Entourage" during the final phase of the contest. Thank you to everyone who joined- you all are a huge part of why I was eventually selected.
The finalist phase ended during Labor Day weekend, and I was called on Labor Day by Eric (the mind behind this whole promotion) and he told me I was selected as the winner. The hilarious thing was that I was actually wearing a Peppermill shirt that I made on Cafe Press. I wore it to bed Sunday night, and wore it to the gym the following morning. Apparently, it's a pretty lucky shirt because Eric called me right before I went in to work out. I had my mini excitement freak out, then called everyone involved with either going with me or allowing me to go on the trip (Mrs. B., John and Katrina, my boss, and my assistant manager at work.) I was not allowed to post anything on the internet because they hadn't publicly announced the winner (which makes sense because this was only two days before we were scheduled to leave.) The remainder of the day, I was about to explode because I wanted to tell all my friends the good news! Eventually, they announced the fact that I won publicly, and I excitedly posted on Facebook, Twitter and right here immediately. Once again, thank you to EVERYONE who helped me out by voting for me and for all the people who allowed me to suddenly drop everything and be a part of this once in a lifetime experience.
I was somewhat aware of the expectations going into the entire "Be The High Roller" experience. We were getting hooked up with the ultimate experience at the Peppermill and everything was on the house. The trade off was that Mrs. B., my friends, and I would be part of a promotional material throughout the casino. We experienced all the amenities at the Peppermill on a decently loose schedule and filmed little spots that highlighted each location within the resort. Oh, and we got to ride in the Peppermill's private jet! As seen here:
It began to rain on our way to the airport on Wednesday, and we got a little lost looking for the private jet runway at the Sacramento Airport. Mrs. B. and I finally figured out where we were going. We pulled up and were immediately greeted by Eric who introduced himself and was very excited to meet us. His excitement about the experience was infectious and any nerves we might have had were quickly calmed.
Next we met Morgan (who appeared in the videos promoting the contest, and hosted the various webisodes that we filmed during our time at the Peppermill) and our videographer Lonny. Our first impression of the Eric, Morgan, and Lonny was that they were great people who would be fun to work with (our first impressions were quickly confirmed and enhanced over the next 5 days.)
That seems like a good stopping part for today. I'll keep writing about the whole experience during the entirety of the week. I hope you don't get tired of hearing about the amazing experience- I'm also documenting this for my own personal memories and in no way am I trying to brag or boast about "how cool I am" or anything like that. I just feel so honored and lucky to have been picked to be involved in a promotion for my longtime favorite casino/resort- not to mention getting hooked up with a comped trip!