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South Jordan Journal

Christmas comes early for South Jordan man

Dec 10, 2019 02:46PM ● By Libby Allnatt

James Park, right, and his wife, Rachelle, are pictured with the signature big checks from the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol. Park won a Ford Explorer XLT, worth $49,615. (Libby Allnatt/City Journals)

Libby Allnatt | [email protected] 

James Park put up his Christmas lights on Nov. 5. On Nov. 6, Christmas came early. 

The South Jordan resident was declared the winner of a Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes and was gifted a Ford Explorer XLT worth $49,615. 

Dave Sayer and Howie Guja of the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol flew to Salt Lake City the morning of the delivery. 

Before surprising the lucky winner, they visited Smith’s to get flowers — a bouquet of glitter-dusted red roses — and to blow up their signature balloons. 

Sayer said while they have no guarantee that a winner is home, it’s a rare occurrence that they’re not. He said they do in-person prize deliveries every few weeks. Sayer has personally done almost 500 deliveries. 

Founded in 1953, Publishers Clearing House is now a media company that sells a variety of products and offers online games and sweepstakes. According to the company, the online games have more than 10 million unique monthly visitors. Nearly $400 million in prizes have been awarded. 

Utah residents have scored big with Publishers Clearing House before, including a Sandy woman who was gifted $25,000 last December, and a Salt Lake City man who won $10,000 in January. 

Soon, it was time to deliver the car (and check — winners have the option of taking the prize itself, or a check of the same value. Park chose the check.) to Utah’s latest Publishers Clearing House winner. Park and his wife, Rachelle, were all smiles as they celebrated on their doorstep with the Prize Patrol. 

“Are you kidding? I won!” Park said. 

James Park said he started becoming active with Publishers Clearing House about three years ago. 

This contest was part of a Token Exchange, in which a Publishers Clearing House user exchanges tokens they earn on the site for entries. 

“It rewards the people who play a lot,” Howie Guja of the Prize Patrol said. “The more tokens you trade in, the more entries you can get in.”

Sayer said that technology has changed the contests, with people having more opportunities to enter and the ability to enter more frequently. 

“It’s not like it was in the old direct-mail days when we sent them a big brown envelope,” Sayer said. “Some people would get them only once or twice a year, or maybe people on a really hot mailing list would get them every few weeks or something. But those were the opportunities to enter. Now, with all the online stuff, they’re entering every day. And you can, we allow that. That means there’s a lot more entries, and the people that are entering every day probably have a better chance of winning.”

James Park said the no-purchase-necessary model of Publishers Clearing House makes it an efficient way to win. 

“You can play the lottery and pay a dollar for each ticket,” he said. “I didn’t pay any dollars or anything. They sent me an email every day, and I opened it and said, OK go. It’s the easiest money I’ve ever won.”

James Park said he plans to use the money to pay off some bills. 

“Literally, I put lights up yesterday,” Park said. “I put them up early because it’s too cold to put them up later. So, I put them up just yesterday, and then today Christmas came.”