Picture of Sheri Burns
Time to Vote

As promised, we’re doing our fifth annual Road Warrior contest a bit differently this year — and it involves all of you. The American Way staff spent the last few weeks going through the more than 9,000 entries we received, and we’ve narrowed them down to five finalists. As in years past, this was a long and tough decision. We had a lot of people whose answers were interesting, original, and/or well thought out. And many of your answers to the bonus question were simply hilarious. We’ll share a sampling of those with you in our special Road Warrior issue on January 15, 2007.

But before we get to that, we (I mean, you) have to decide who will win the top prize in our contest. Of the five finalists, the grand-prize winner will receive two million Hilton HHonors Bonus Points, good at participating Hilton family hotels around the world, as well as a million American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

The second-place winner will receive a Bose Lifestyle 48 Home Entertainment System, a Bose SoundDock, and a pair of Bose QuietComfort 2 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones.

Three third-place winners will each receive a five-day, four-night vacation for two at the ­Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii’s Big Island from AmericanAirlines Vacations, as well as a two-year subscription to T-Mobile HotSpot Wi-Fi Internet service.

Additionally, all five winners will receive a Panasonic Toughbook CF-74 laptop, which should come in handy, considering how much they’re on the road.

So what now? It’s easy. Just go to www.americanwaymag.com and click on Vote Now for Your Favorite Road Warrior MVP. There you’ll find the same information that we had to judge the entries. You can see who the contestants are, what they do for a living, how many trips they took last year, and their answer to the essay question on what they consider their home away from home. You’ll also be able to see how well they did in identifying the places in our montage, how original their Mad Lib choices were, and what they consider to be the dead giveaways of a rookie road warrior.

I could provide that information here, but then you might not be curious enough to go online and cast your vote. And if curiosity doesn’t do it for you, each person who votes will be entered in a drawing for 25,000 American Airlines AAdvantage Miles. How’s that for incentive?

I expect I’ll be hearing from you about the fact that we didn’t include pictures of the finalists. Here’s the deal: When we were reading the entries and choosing the five finalists, we generally didn’t get to see what the entrants looked like. (Yes, people had the option of uploading a photo, but so many were of sunsets, kids, things that caught their eye, things they thought we might enjoy, etc.) So we decided that, to level the playing field, you should use the same information we did when you’re making your decision.

I’m counting on a whole lot of you to participate in the voting, because every year we get plenty of letters from people who agree — and disagree — with our choices. So this is your chance to make the call. Be forewarned: If you don’t play, you can’t complain — and I’ll know whether you played or not.

So go cast your vote! We’ve got a really great bunch of finalists, and because I’ve already ranked them in my mind, I’m curious to see how similarly we vote. The voting is open now and closes promptly at 11:59 p.m. Central time on November 14.

Thanks in advance for your help in determining this year’s winners, and good luck to all the finalists!

Signature of Sheri Burns

Sherri Gulczynski Burns