BETHEL – Sandy and Scott Dennis are planning a huge lobster bake and pool-party family reunion next summer, courtesy of a last minute sweepstakes entry in a rice company contest.

“It was a total shock. I almost didn’t enter,” said Sandy of the $10,000 cash prize she received from the Uncle Ben’s Better Together Family Sweepstakes contest.

Her name was drawn from among 9,000 entries nationwide, according to a news release issued by the company.

“I thought what are the odds to win a contest when you can enter only once and there’s only one prize. It’s probably a waste of time,” said Sandy, who is not a first-time winner in the sweepstakes contest world.

The family reunion will include her family as well as that of her husband, and will likely include more than 30 people.

Over the years, she has won a trip to Hawaii with her family to see the Pro-Bowl, a trip to Disneyworld, and money to help with the construction of the couple’s home, as well as dozens of T-shirts, coupons and other small prizes.

She also won a trip to Space Camp quite a few years ago, which she donated to Telstar High School.

“In town, I’m considered lucky,” she said Monday afternoon.

The cash prize came at a perfect time.

The computer system at her store, Books ‘N Things, which she has owned for a dozen years, badly needs updating. Some of the money, after paying taxes, which Scott believes will be about 40 percent, and splurging on the family reunion, will go for just that.

Sandy doesn’t consider herself as serious a contest player as some, but she spends a few minutes here and there taking a chance.

“I do it for fun,” she said, adding that companies offer sweepstakes prizes to promote their products. And she has become more serious about entering during the past year or so.

“This is fun. You never know when and what you’ll win,” she said.

And she believes in entering the sweepstakes of companies that produce products she and her husband either use or believe in.

Scott, who works in insurance, is the cook in the family. He often uses Uncle Ben’s to make rice pilaf and other dishes.

“When you win, it does make you want to use the product more,” Scott said.

During the summer reunion, she is asking all family members to bring dishes that use Uncle Ben’s rice.


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