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SoBo football fan wins thrill of lifetime: a trip to Super Bowl

For South Boston resident and football fan J.B. Wilborn, it’s the thrill of a lifetime, and all because he likes pizza, specifically Papa John’s pizza.

Wilborn, along with his father, Jeff, will travel to Indianapolis this week for Super Bowl XLVI, courtesy of Papa John’s, after Wilborn won two Super Bowl tickets in an online contest through Papa John’s My Rewards program.

The contest started in November and lasted through Christmas, with Papa John’s giving away five pairs of Super Bowl tickets, one pair each week randomly to a Rewards Program member who registered online, according to Papa John’s Regional Business Manager Jeff Williams.

“It’s great to have somebody out here have an opportunity to go other than someone from a big city, and the expression on his face tells the entire story,” said Williams.

There were two winners from Virginia, one from Alexandria and Wilborn, according to Williams.

Airfare, hotel and game tickets are just two of the perks,
according to Wilborn, who at first didn’t believe the news when his dad phoned him at work from their home.

“My dad answered the phone at home, called me and said you’re not going to believe this, I’m going to the Super Bowl, and I’m taking you with me,” Wilborn recalled.

“We talked about it for a few minutes, and he flipped and told me I was the actual winner.

“I didn’t believe it at first and had to make a few calls.”

Wilborn and his father leave Thursday to fly to Indianapolis, and he already has plans to visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as well as just simply soak in the atmosphere.

“We’ll be going to NFL Super Bowl Experience, where you get to meet 50 different NFL players and talk to coaches and ask them any questions you want,” said Wilborn.

“It’s going to be a good time.”

He and his dad will get the full VIP treatment while at the game, he added.

“I expect to get an itinerary soon.  While I’m at the game I get a full premium menu, open bar and VIP access, and I won’t have to wait in any lines. It’s going to be nice.”

Wilborn didn’t note if his favorite Papa John’s pizza, the meat lover’s with cheddar cheese, would be included on the menu, but still he was looking forward to the weekend and the game.

“It’s really exciting, like hitting the lottery, it really is,” Wilborn said.

“It’s going to be a memory me and my dad will have the rest of our lives.”

Although a Tennessee Titans fan, Wilborn will be pulling for the New York Giants to defeat the New England Patriots Feb. 5 in Super Bowl XLIV.

“I’m a Tennessee Titans fan, but I’m pulling for the underdog, it’s just too easy to be a Patriots fan,” Wilborn said, while indicating he may enter another contest open to Rewards Program members.

“I want to remind everybody to go to Papa John’s website and sign up for their My Rewards Program.  Once you sign up for it, you can vote heads or tails, and if America makes the right call for the coin toss, every Papa John’s Rewards member gets a free pizza and two-liter Pepsi Max,” Wilborn added with a grin.