Local fan wins Super Bowl tickets


By Jordan Green

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TROY — Troy resident and longtime Bengals’ fan, Kelli Wilker, will be going to Super Bowl LVI (56). Tickets are averaging around $5,000 to $10,000 and are not easy to come by, so how did she get them? She won them — in a contest she didn’t even know she had entered.

Wilker, an ultrasound tech, has been a Bengals’ season ticket holder for the last 12 years. She has stuck with the team through the highs and the lows of the last decade and has always been a responsible fan — in more ways than one. Wilker signed up to be a designated driver and pledged to abstain from alcohol at the games throughout this past season. In return, she thought she was being rewarded with merely a token for a free (non-alcoholic) drink from the concession stand.

What Wilker didn’t know is that through a partnership with the T.E.A.M. Coalition (Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management), the NFL rewards fans like her by entering them into a raffle. One fan for each team is selected at the end of the regular season as the Responsible Fan for the Season. Fans selected to represent the teams who compete in the Super Bowl are awarded with two tickets, airfare, a four-night hotel stay in Los Angeles, and a travel stipend through the rideshare app Uber.

About halfway through the Divisional Round game between the Bengals and the Tennessee Titans, Wilker received a text informing her she had been selected as the Responsible Fan for the Season and that if the Bengals claimed the AFC title, she would be going to the Super Bowl. Two game winning field goals by Bengals’ rookie Kicker Evan McPherson later, and Wilker is headed to LA.

“I thought I was getting a free pop, and I wound up with a trip to the Super Bowl,” said Wilker. Wilker is excited not only to be going to the Super Bowl but also to take her first trip to Los Angeles. When asked how she felt, Wilker responded, “I’m a healthcare worker, my husband’s a teacher, I’m a mother, you know. I didn’t think anything like this would ever happen to me.” She leaves on Thursday with her husband for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to cheer on her Bengals team in the team’s first Super Bowl since 1988.

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