Friday, December 23, 2016

Dallas Dream Trip!


Cody literally won a trip of a life time on Draft Kings!  He entered in a free drawing and he came in first place!  Cody has been playing Draft Kings for a couple of years and until this year he really hasn't won much.  On week 3 of football season, Cody entered into a FREE drawing by Draft Kings.  When he entered it, he had no idea what the prize was actually for.  That Sunday he saw that he was in first place, but he thought that the Monday night games would count towards the contest.  They didn't!  And he ended up winning a grand prize, an all expenses paid trip to Dallas to watch the Dallas Cowboys play in a suite!  Cody has been a Dallas fan his whole life so this was a bucket list trip for him!


We only really had two days in Dallas, so we tried to make the best of our time. We started off our trip by going to the Stockyards in Fort Worth.  This is basically old school Texas.  We stopped in at the visitor's center and the two old guys that worked there were super nice to us.  They handed us a pin souvenir and pointed out all the activities that were happening in town.  They even tried to convince us to move to Fort Worth!  They said that 500 families a year move to Fort Worth and that we'd fit in just fine.  Haha!



One of the big events in town is the cattle drive.  Fort Worth is the only city in town that has a cattle drive every day.



It was actually a pretty quick process and not exactly thrilling... but it was still kind of cool.


Right after that they had a gun fight.  I expected the gun fight show to only be a couple minutes long, but it was actually like 15-20 minutes long and it was pretty funny!!  We both enjoyed it.



We had a nice lunch at Riscky's barbecue.  While we were sitting there eating on the patio a southern santa walked by.  I thought it was too funny!  Now the weather in Dallas was quite temperamental on us.  When we started the day off in Fort Worth it was about 70 degrees out but as we were eating lunch the temperatures started dropping.  They actually had to close in the porch area.  By the time we got to our hotel around 4pm it was 30 degrees!!


They have the cattle out on the streets for people to take pictures with!  And of course I had to get my picture taken!


While in Fort Worth, we toured Billy Bob Texas which is the largest Honky Tonk in the world!  It was HUGE!  Man I wish we would have had a night to have gone there because it looked like a blast!


Most honkytonk bars have a mechanical bull for people to ride... this one had an actual professional bull riding ring!  They charge $4 every Friday and Saturday night to watch bull riders!!!  Ah!  I would have loved to have seen that!!


They also have hallways full of hand prints of different country celebrities.  The one in the picture with all the kissy marks?  Mr. Blake Shelton.  Miranda Lambert's one was equally kissed! 


Haha!  Only in Texas would you have a claw machine with cowboy hats in it!


As I'm sure you know, Texas is called the "Lone Star State"  and basically EVERYWHERE you look you will see a star symbol and the word cowboy.  It is no wonder that their football team is called the Dallas Cowboys and that their logo is a star!  I totally get it now!!  Haha!



Draft Kings put us up at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas, which was one of the top rated hotels in Dallas (Yaaaay!!)  To get the the hotel we used our first ever Uber ride!  The driver that we got was awesome too!  He pointed stuff out to us as we made our way to the hotel.


Saturday night Draft King's had a meet and greet for us in the Omni Hotel at a restaurant there called the Owner's Box.  They had buckets of beer and waitresses walking around to take any other drink orders that you wanted.  Our waitress was on top of it too.  I basically finished my drink and she handed me a new one! 

 

Draft Kings also had a nice spread of food for us too.  They treated us SO good the whole weekend.  We had a few hosts and they really went out of their way to make sure that we were having a good time and that we had anything that we needed.


Here is Cody and I!


They even had presents for us!  Cody's favorite by far was the personalized Cowboy's game ball that they gave to him!  How awesome!  Cody had a Plain Jane football at home that he throws around all the time, and I was thinking of getting him a Cowboy's one for Christmas.  Phew!  Glad I didn't do that!


 I also got a present!  The Dallas Cowboy's stadium only allows clear bags inside, so they handed out clear bags to everyone.  Yay for having a "purse" for the day!



Here is a shot of some of the winners.  In all there were 12 people that qualified to come to Dallas for this event.  And I couldn't believe it there were actually TWO people that won that didn't come!  Talk about missing out on an opportunity of a life time!  Draft Kings paid for our flight, hotel, food and drinks on Sunday, transportation to and from the game, and we got to sit in a suite at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium to watch the game!  We even got to onto the field at the end!  And it was all for FREE! I don't know how someone could pass that up!


After the meet and greet we went out to "Kung Fu" for the night with some of the other winners (Chris, Alex (GF Christina), and Ganeva)  It was a bar a little ways away that had free video games.  We played skee ball, mortal combat, donkey kong, super mario brothers, and some racing games.  It was a fun night.  That girl in the picture is the sole FEMALE winner that got to come!  She was actually from Fort Worth!  There were actually two winners from the Dallas area... go figure!  Otherwise people were pretty much spread out from all over the country and even Canada.



The Cowboy's game was flexed from a 12pm game to a 7:30pm game.  This ended up being hugely in our favor!  Our day started at 10:30am to drive to a bar called Boomer Jacks to watch the first round of games. 


Our group had our own private area and we had a bunch of TVs with all the games on.  Draft Kings was so good to us!  They brought out appetizers, but basically told us to order anything that we wanted.  We got tons of food and drinks while we were there.


While we were there they plugged in the contest scoreboard.  At first Cody was in the top spot!  Then I posted it to Facebook.... and.... then.... his-team-literally-didn't-score-another-point!  He said I jinxed him... whoopsie!  But honestly, the prize money wasn't the real prize for anyone... sure while we were at the bar people were looking at the scoreboard and talking about it a little bit... but once we got to the Cowboy's Stadium that was all history.


Here's a picture of our "ticket" / "VIP Passes" basically with this baby we got into the game about an hour and half before the public and we were granted access in pretty much all over the stadium.


Here was our first look at the stadium!

 

I had to make him pose before I let him run in!  


This stadium is massive!  And GORGEOUS!  This was the entry way walking into the building.


Various art work is on the walls.  I was really impressed!  Not the stadiums that I'm used to in Cleveland.

  
This was in our Draft Kings lounge.


Before the game we went to the Draft King's lounge for more food and drinks.  We were also almost right on the field!!  


More pictures of the lounge that we were in... 


One more angle.  You can see that they fed us here too.  They definitely didn't let us go hungry or thirsty!  


A shot of the stadium...  the viewing screen there is MASSIVE!  It is the biggest tv screen in all of the NFL.  Actually the whole stadium was massive.  It fits 110,000 people and every single one of those seats were sold during our game.  It was jam packed and exciting!  There was actually a huge line of people waiting to get into the team shop too!


Here is some pictures of just walking around the stadium...


Love the star on the drink cups!!  We actually ended up keeping a couple of them!  They had stars on the napkins too!

 

Cody was in awe!!  Talk about a dream come true!


Love this picture of HIM... not so much the cheerleaders in the background.  ;)  Hehe


We were SO close to the visiting teams bench.  We actually were right next to them as they walked out.  The one woman was a fan, and I'm pretty sure that they signed something for her on their way onto the field.  The best part was that we were there so early and that it was JUST our group.  Once the gates opened it was open to anyone that had a suite, but for that first hour or two it was just our group.  It was an amazing view!


 Here's all of the winners and their lucky guests!



We tried to venture out to see more of the stadium, but it was SO crowded!  We were out there when 110,000 people were coming in!  It was super hard to walk around so we decided to head back to the lounge until it was time to go to our SUITE!!!  


We felt so incredibly lucky to be in a suite at the Cowboy's Stadium.  I did some research and they run between $20,000 to $50,000 a game!!  We were in suite Star 661, which was pretty high up but it was still great seats.  


We were one of the first people in so we ran and got a front row seat!  Woohoo!  They were REALLY comfy seats too!


Here we are!  Talk about an awesome shot!



 Here is Cody in the suite (and the SUPER drunk old guy behind him) haha



The game was FANTASTIC!  The Cowboys played pretty good and it was still a close game.

 

 Here we all are watching the game.  LOVE the reactions from the Tampa Bay fan's in the bottom right!  Haha!!


It is not possible to depict how large this stadium really is, because you literally can't get the whole stadium in the view of our camera.  It just surrounds you on all sides, and goes WAAAAY up!!  I also love that it is a dome, because even though it was 20 degrees in Dallas on Sunday night you would have never known it!  The temperature was perfect in the dome and I loved that the climate was controlled.  They said that all new stadiums that are being built are being modeled after Dallas's.  It was quite remarkable, and we just kept saying how LUCKY and THANKFUL that we were that we got this opportunity.  It was absolutely mind blowing!!  Total bucket list item!


What made our trip even better was that the Cowboy's won the game!!  Yippee!  The whole experience would have been fun regardless, but I think that a loss would have definitely been a downer.  Cody really gets into the games at home and he gets upset when they Cowboys don't play well...  let alone when they lose!  So I was thankful that they looked pretty good in the game and that they won!


Cody didn't end up winning the whole thing...  he actually came in 9th place out of 12.  He ended up winning $1,000 in all.  But honestly, the whole experience was so fun, we weren't upset about not winning more at all. We just felt so lucky to have even been there.  To qualify Cody won by .4 of a point in his initial contest and the guy that came in second won $50 and by winning first place we got this amazing trip!  So we just felt so lucky for what we did win, and there weren't any hard feelings.




After the game we actually got to go out onto the field!!  There was no stopping him to pose!  He was off to the races to look around right away.


Here we are on the field.


Here is Cody in the end zone.


It's good!


Sitting on Dallas's bench.



On the star!  This was an ellusive picture to get!  EVERYONE wanted a picture on the star.  Most people laid down right on it and did a "snow angel"  haha


We hopped in and got our picture taken.  This picture was actually taken by Draft Kings photographer.  He did a fantastic job taking pictures over the whole trip.  On the ride home he told us that he took over 600 pictures and that he was going to post them on Facebook on Tuesday (which was 3 days ago now).  So far he has only posted 60 pictures!  Boo!  I don't think that they'll post more either.  I'm really bummed because I really wanted to see what candid shots he got of us.  Kelsie was following Draft Kings on Snap chat during the game and she saved a bunch of pictures of us.  I was trying to follow Draft Kings too, and I thought I'd seen all the pictures that they posted but she had a couple of us cheering in the suite that I hadn't seen.


Overall, we couldn't have asked for a better time.  Thank you Cody for winning this fantastic trip!  And thank you to Draft Kings for having such an awesome free contest and treating us so well over the weekend!  I can't believe that real people win these types of trips, especially off of a free entry!  All of the winners we met were just ordinary people that had a lucky week and couldn't believe that they had made it on this trip either.   Everyone had a story of something that went "just right" that got them there. Cody and I definitely have the "draft king bug" now, and he's entering in contests to try to win more trips from them!!  Haha!  I've even encouraged him to enter some tournaments where you have to pay for them.  I don't know if lightening will strike twice or not...  but if he were to win anything, I have to say that this trip would have been our pick.  Cody is already talking about trying to make a weekend trip to Dallas onto our list of trips in the upcoming years!!  We'll see about that, but hurray for getting to go there this year!