DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) – For one local Alabama football fan, the Tide’s victory over West Virginia on August 30 took a back seat to another victory on the field Saturday afternoon. That’s because John Robertson of Daphne won the KIA Kickoff Challenge and a brand new SUV.
Robertson is a commercial diver from Daphne. He’s no football player, but over the last few weeks he’s been preparing for the biggest kick of his life. During the third quarter break at the Alabama-West Virginia game on Saturday, that’s what it came down to…his leg against the leg of a West Virginia fan to win a new KIA SUV.
It was a grand moment, but it took a lot of luck just to get to that point. Robertson had no idea that his wife entered him in a sweepstakes event earlier in the year, but he’s glad she did.
“They called me on a Friday and I really thought it was a hoax you know and then the lady said, ‘No you’re in the KIA Kickoff in the Atlanta dome’ and I was like OK,” Robertson recalled.
Robertson immediately bought a football and a tee and started practicing on his own. However, he soon realized he needed professional help. A Mobile sports radio station paired him up with a coach with the University of South Alabama Jaguars football team to help him with his form.
“We worked on a few things. I think it became Wednesday or Thursday and I was probably making six out of 10 so we started doing the straight on kicks with the old style kicking,” he said.
Robertson borrowed a square toed shoe from a local high school team and started making a lot more, but nothing could have prepared him for the pressure of the crowd with a new car on the line. Eleven others started the competition making field goals from the five yard line. After backing it up to the 15, Robertson made it to the final two to see who could kick it farther from the 50 yard line.
“The adrenaline was pumping, 80,000 people screaming and the pressure was on for me to kick it. I just tuned everything out, looked at the ball, kept my head down and I just went after it,” said Robertson.
The Robertsons currently drive an older model SUV with over 120,000 miles that has been in and out of the shop a lot lately. They’re looking very forward to getting into their new KIA SUV by the end of September. .