Mercy’s athletic trainer wins $50,000

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Michelle Gambino stood for over 70 hours in the Hands on the Hellcat competition to win $50,000. (Photo Credit: Michelle Gambino)

Jasmine Williams, New Media and Promotions Editor

New to the Mercy family, athletic trainer Michelle Gambino has become well-known throughout the school after winning Channel 955’s Hands on the Hellcat competition. Gambino spent over 70 hours with her hands on a red Hellcat to win either a $50,000 prize or the Hellcat.

“I never win anything, so when I called into the radio station and was entered in the drawing to be a contestant, I was shocked,” said Gambino. She called into the radio station  on whim to try and enter the competition, and she was the second person out of the 300 who entered to compete in the competition. The competition began at 8 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 24 with 30 contestants.

“You can do this, you can win,” Gambino told herself during the beginning stages of the competition. The rules of the competition were pretty simple. The contestants must have at least one hand on the vehicle at all times, and contestants were given a 10-minute break each hour to eat or use the restroom. Gambino spent her breaks talking with her fiancé and her mother. They both took turns being her support system.

“One contestant got out within the first 17 minutes, but after that, it took a while before people gave up,” Gambino said of her tough competitors. The majority of the contestants were eliminated due to rule violations and health reasons between Tuesday and Wednesday, and on the final day of the competition, there were less than six people left with their hand on the car.

“It was around 3 a.m. on Thursday when me and the other three people left in the competition looked at each other and nodded,” Gambino said of how she decided to split the $50,000 prize with the last three contestants: Jamal Brown, John Eichorn, and Charles Thrall.

“We flagged down the judges to tell them we wanted to split the money, but they said there could be only one official winner,” said Gambino. The final four competitors decided that Gambino was the best person to split up the money, and on Thursday morning, she was announced as the official winner of the competition.

“I was overwhelmed and in shock,” Gambino said of her emotions after she was announced as the winner. “It was challenging but an amazing experience.”