19. THE COMPETITION WINNERS

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So … we gathered on Wednesday to find the three ‘FAN’TASTICO’S who win the competition. The screaming crowds were kept at bay outside the pub and those inside cheered constantly as the four of us read the 24 final round winners. The judges ….


… scored each story with a maximum of 10 points each – and after a couple of hours we handed our score sheets to our Independant Adjudicator and our Competition Director who added up the scores to find the overall winners. The atmosphere was electric as the Adjudicator handed us the envelope containing the 3 winners. The crowds outside were suddenly silent, faces pressed against the windows in anticipation. In the pub people strained forward, holding their breath …

I stood up. ‘And the winner is …’

(I kept them hanging on for nearly an hour)

The winner is …. KIM!’  

Thunderous applause and the crowd outside went wild.
KIM KIM KIM’ they chanted.

So here’s Kim’s story. Her unswerving dedication, loyalty over such a long time and her love of music impressed us all. So did her writing. Congratulations!

Please note – One or two typos have been corrected but all entries are published exactly as they were written.
 

KIM – FIRST PRIZE (36 points)

My hobby started almost 30 years ago. I say hobby because that’s what it has been for me. I have been very lucky to have seen every tour that Def Leppard has done in the U.S., most I have seen numerous times. As a short story I have to tell you about the Hysteria tour. What a show—I had read that when the stadium almost cleared at the end of the show, the guys would come out from under the stage. As the stadium started to clear, the ushers were trying to get me to leave and I just kept pleading that as soon as they came out I would leave. At the time, Joe was the favorite and as soon as I saw him I just yelled his name and he looked up with that gorgeous grin of his and waved. I will never forget that moment and how I felt, I sit down in the seat and cryed with joy.

Well now, I was really hooked. My collection of anything Def Leppard had begun. It was also at this time that one concert was just not enough, so I would see them as many times as I could in surrounding states. That still wasn’t enough at times. NO I’m not crazy or a stalker but they just have IT. IT just makes you feel great, IT is something that I have yet to understand myself. I just knew that I needed more of IT!!! So the story begins during the SLANG tour. Over the phone with friends that I had made, we made plans to see DL
Sorry, I’m tired and hit the wrong button. As I was saying, we made plans to see them as many times as we could. The first leg of my tour began in Cleveland, Ohio where I met all my friends I had made just because of DL. I had opted out of my beach vacation to travel north and follow the guys for the opportunity to meet them. SSoooooooo well worth every penny. I had most of my tickets in hand for the concerts which I payed a pretty penny for. I was in the first, second and third rows to every show–and in Cleveland is where my long wait to meet them finally came true. We were staying in the same hotel as the guys and we knew that they would go to the bar in the hotel after the show. It was so crowded and I was so nervous. Moving through the small bar I start getting extremely nervous—WHAT DO I SAY? DON’T ACT STUPID! LET THEM KNOW HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU!! All going through my head. I got very close to Joe, but I just couldn’t make myself get closer. He moves to the bar and sits down, he’s talking to someone and I see three seats open up across from him. I grabbed the two closest friends I had made and we sat for a while across the way. Yes, I was listening to him talk and NO I wasn’t easedropping. Well I guess I was, but I couldn’t tell you what it was about, I just wanted to hear his voice. Of course I had to have a drink I wasn’t going to be able to approach him if I didn’t. So I sit, had a Crown and Coke and listened to him just talk. I had my nerve and knew that when he made a move I was going to be there. And he did and I did, he hugged me and was so gracious to me and we took a picture and I didn’t make a fool of myself. There, what more could I ask for? I felt very blessed because I had seen him earlier get really hateful with someone and it scared my away. Later, I learned he had perfect right to say and do what he did.
As we were leaving the bar , Phil and his then girlfriend Anita were coming in the door. What was so ironic was that Anita had come down during the show and danced with us during the song SLANG. During the show we had no idea who she was. She acknowledged us as she approached us telling Phil she had danced with us at the show. We took pictures and talked for a while. She found out we were going to several other shows and promised to find us because she always came out in the crowd during the SLANG song. And she did! What a nice person and beautiful at that.
After that night, I knew that hands down Phil had to be the nicest guy ever. We traveled through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and back to Ohio during that trip and I had so many more wonderful memories of the guys and the shows. We were on a first name basis speaking to one another in the hotels, whether we were on the elevator coming or going from the hotel or even in the hallway. It was magical for me because I loved their music so much and had followed their career since the beginning–On Through The Night beginning. In Indianapolis, Joe turned and pointed right at me and sang to me. That was one of the shows that I had front row seats. In Cinncinatti we spent a couple days in the same hotel while they were off a day and that’s when I finally got to meet Rick Allen. What an inspiration he is and he was so nice to acknowledge that he had seen us at the last few shows and asked how we were enjoying them. Amazing!!! Right!!!
It wasn’t over! My friends and I decided after we went home that we just had to go the weekend to the Dallas, Austin and Houston shows. And yes we were there. We fly into Dallas and see Def Leppard that night. Then we rent a car and drive to Austin and stay in the same hotel as them again. I remember walking through the sitting area as we had checked into our room and came down for a walk–someone calling out my name and thinking to myself, WHO KNOWS ME HERE? I’m from Tennessee. I turn and see Phil who was sitting in a chair reading a book. It had been about a month since the trip north and HE REMEMBERED MY NAME!!!!!! We chated and he was amazed we were seeing them the three nights they were in Texas. He said, ” You guys must be superfans!” and laughed. At most of the shows we went to, we were usually in front of Phil who is great about acknowledging you in the crowd and this trip was no different. I got to talk more to Sav and Joe during this trip. Also during this trip I got a 3 ft by 3 ft poster signed by all of them. They had never seen the poster before and thought is was cool. It was the eye from the Adenalize album and it was made out of a hard plastic.
It still wasn’t over for us because they hadn’t been to my state yet and that was even more than I could hope for. A week or so later we traveled to Atlanta, GA to see them. As we were driving in the city trying to find the box office to get tickets we heard on the radio that if you had the most tickets to different shows during this tour you would win front row seats. We ( my same 2 side kicks that I had shared all this with ) looked at each other and for no reason we could think of still had all our ticket stubbs in our purses and wallets. They had been to a few that I hadn’t went to and I had went to a few that they hadn’t went to. We counted and lucky number 13 popped up. We won front row that night and couldn’t believe we had brought them with us. Like what can you do with used concert tickets??????? WIN FRONT ROW SEATS I SAY!!! We still had my town Nashville, TN. It would be the last one, we all knew it. We had a great ride, an unforgetable journey so what more could happen? Well I’ll tell you——I ONLY TOOK PHIL AND ANITA ….IN MY CAR……TO A BAGLE SHOP THE MORNING AFTER THE NASHVILLE SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!Yes I had Phil Collen in the front seat of my Trans Am. I took a picture of them at the back of my car because my license plate said Def Leppard. I’ll not give out the exact letters but Phil knew what it said. So I have to say I feel very blessed to have these and even more memories since then. Not many people get to meet who they idolize and I feel very lucky. I also have had a child since those days and she has become a fan herself. I always joked to my family that if anything ever happened to me, not to sale my Def Leppard memorbillia in a yard sale. I have some nice pieces and some that are worth a little money. I know I have invested a lot of money in it. Now, I have my daughter and I know she will take care of it and it will live on. She is a fan herself and has a few memories with Phil. He remembered me on the next tour. About 4 years later I took my daughter to see them and he was like WOW you have a child this time. She hasn’t actually met them yet but Phil signed her guitar during the Sparkle Lounge tour from the stage and Joe pointed and sang to her. I can say, “I know how she feels!” And I feel like her day will come when she does meet them. She loves the stories I tell her and loves looking at my pictures and she tells all her friends that her mom has met Def Leppard. I think it was pretty cool and I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I loved living it!!!!!!!!
The second prize goes to Vicki. Once again – sheer dedication and a mission that took years to acheive has to be applauded. Brilliant – and the tattoos are testament to your unbelievable tenacity.

Vicki Brown – SECOND PRIZE (33 points)

“FAN”alized

 1983 was the year that changed my life forever…

I heard my first Def Leppard song “Photograph”, I  was 14 and I was hooked. I had become a diehard fan virtually overnight.. As a young teen I fantasized about meeting my heros and as the years passed that turned into a lifelong dream. And just like any other fan , I wanted autograph’s!

As I got older my collection of memorabilia grew! I had to have everything!!  Oh,  did I mention that I also became a fan of tattoos? So it just seemed natural that I would get a Def Leppard tat….okay maybe two.
On my upper arm is the “Hysteria” album cover and on my upper leg is the “Adrenalize” eyeball. On completion of the Adrenalize tattoo, it hit me then…..I wanted that autographed!!!
 
Fast forwarding a few years….It wasn’t until  2001, that I won a radio contest on Q107 (Toronto Ontario Canada) I was lucky enough to enjoy an acoustic performance by Joe and Phil promoting there new album X, along with 100 other lucky winners. At the end of the night my friend Joanne pushed me to the stage, where I was able to shake Joe’s hand and asked him to sign my tattoo. Not be able to talk to Phil I started to cry. I must have been a real mess, because Malvin told me to hold on, he will come back and get me. True to his word I find myself in the basement of the club, being hugged by Phil. Awesome sums it up! I left that night th happiest girl on earth, tons of pictures of Joe, Phil and me and two signatures added to my tattoo…three more to get.
 
2003 on a trip to England for a Leppard show in Bristol. After the show I met up with Malvin and thanked him for everything he had done for me two years ago. Then I added his autograph to my  growing collection.
 
Pushing ahead two more years, 2005 in London, Ontario, Canada. Following the show my friend, daughter and I decided to hang around the buses with about 50 other fans.
Vivian came out first and he was more then happy to sign my leg. Moments later Joe was making his way through the fans signing autographs and taking pictures. It was my turn…I  asked Joe if he could help me out, I only  needed 2 more signatures. He was shocked I actually had them tattoo’d on and blown away that I got Malvin’s too. Thinking for a moment, Joe said I will see what I can do.
Waiting for what seemed like an eternity, in reality it was mere moments I find myself being wisked through the crowd headed to a tour bus. Sav signed my leg and I was able to speak with him about a book on Def Leppard I wrote, (a radio dj gave it to him for me early that day) Sav said it was pretty cool.
Off to my next bus…I got to meet up with Rick.  Tears in my eyes and thinking I wouldn’t be able to hold it together much longer, Rick joked with me because I couldn’t stop crying. But he was happy to finish up my piece of art with a one armed drummer stickman. With an overwhelming feeling of excitement and joy, Joe walked me back towards the crowd, as I thanked him for making my lifelong dream come true!!!
 
Leppardized aka Vicki Brown

And finally – Lee, whose sheer audacity (and a great story) made his entry one of the most entertaining. What was her answer Lee?

Lee Houghton – THIRD PRIZE (31 points)

Hi Andie! Great Blog! My story goes back to 2003 and the X Tour (second leg). Having been round the country with my then girlfriend, Angela, watching the guys in concert, she could not make it to the gig in Nottingham. As ever, the gig was excellent and after the show, I waited outside, along with some fellow hardcore fans. All the guys came out, chatted, signed stuff and were their usual polite, cheerful selves! As my girlfriend could not make it, and as she was back at home, I seized an opportunity and asked Viv if he wouldn’t mind speaking to Angela on my mobile.I told him she had to be in work early and was back home, in bed, but would be thrilled if he could say a quick hello. With a twinkle in his eye, he said “sure” and I dutifully passed the phone over. The following conversation then took place:

Viv – “Hello Angela, how come you are not at the gig?”. Angela replied, explained she needed to be in work early the following day.
Viv – “Oh really, that’s a pity…. Did you say you were in bed? Are you masturbating?”.
At this point, all I could hear is some giggling on the end of the phone, Viv hands the phone back after saying goodbye, with a wink. Yours truly is left blushing beetroot red. I gingerly spoke into the handset…
Hey Babe, that was nice of Viv…Err, you aren’t masturbating, are you????” 
A true story!!

Later …. MORE great stories we all loved. Every one a winner.

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4 Responses to “19. THE COMPETITION WINNERS”

  1. Kim Says:

    Awesome!!! I am so glad you liked my story of meeting Def Leppard!! I’ve been smiling inside and out since I saw my name as the winner. I thought I could hear a crowd chanting my name on Friday, but I didn’t see a crowd around me! It’s a thrill to share something that meant so much to me. Thanks for having the contest!!

  2. Alejandro Says:

    Estoy impresionado con las historias. Dios quiera las pueda vivir algún día. Saludos desde Argentina.

  3. Christal Says:

    Oh wow!! Kim your story is amazing. I am a huge Def Leppard fan as well. I started liking them when I was only about 10. I am now 19. But, your story was amazing. I could only imagine the courage it took for you to speak to Joe Elliot for the first time. Oh, how I would love to have been in your shoes at any point in your story. I am completely jealous of you!

  4. Melissa Says:

    Great story Kim! Somehow I thought I was a little fanatic about Def Leppard or so my husband thinks. I suppose if I had the bucks I would travel all over to see them too. One question though, it seems you stayed in all the same hotels as the band…how did you manage that???

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