Students from Payson, Globe, Miami, Hayden and Young proved that blowing off tobacco has its advantages: They each won four tickets to see a Diamondbacks game by pledging not to use tobacco and blowing the biggest, bubble-gum bubble they could muster.
Brandon Buckner, age 12, from Rim Country Middle School, blew the biggest bubble in his age group. Measured by a special "gumputer" a set of hinged rulers capable of measuring round objects Buckner's bubble came in at six and a half inches which means that he is now qualified to compete in the regional bubble-blowing competition June 11 on the plaza at Bank One Ballpark. If he keeps up his winning streak, Buckner will advance to the finals.
The competitions, called "Blow Off Tobacco," were held all over the country. Sponsored in Arizona by the Gila County Schools, Tobacco Free Environments, Bubblicious brand bubble gum and the Arizona Diamondbacks, the promotion was organized to teach children that "smokeless does not mean harmless," and that chewing tobacco is dangerous..
Two grand prize winners will be awarded a trip for two, along with the Arizona Diamondbacks, to the team's June 16-18 game against the Colorado Rockies. They will fly with the team, stay at the team's hotel and attend all three games in the series.
This year, adults 15 years and older were allowed to participate. The Gila County winners were Jennifer Sartel, age 15, from Payson High School, and Dave Pastor, the principal at Lee Kornegay Middle School in Miami.
Adults will not compete in the finals at Bank One Ballpark. A separate bubble contest will be held for the public June 11 on the plaza. Special prizes will be given to winners of the public contest.