Argos fan misses million

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:15 PM ET

When hotel valet Kent Wingert’s 50 yard field goal attempt went horribly wrong on Friday night, my colleague Terry (Buzz) Koshan looked over at me and said: “Turn that into 600 words.”

Thanks Buzz.

The truth is, this column is more like 750 words.

But I appreciate the sentiment.

I actually came to the Rogers Centre not to ridicule Wingert, who would have won a cool $1 million if he had split the uprights on his 50-yard attempt, but to, at least, tease him a little bit on the assumption that normal people can’t kick field goals from any particular distance.

But more power to Wingert.

The St. Catharines resident went home with a Nissan 370Z Roadster and $36,000.

I went home with gas from eating too many sidewalk hotdogs.

It’s an interesting study, this Wendy’s Kick for a Million promotion.

Wingert, who, at 38, hopes to join the RCMP some day, had four chances from four different distances to win some pretty cool prizes during halftime on Friday’s Argos-Ticats game, starting from the 20 yard line. A successful field goal from 20 would have won him a $25,000 Samsung “Family Package”, whatever that is. Personally, I value my family package at much more than $25,000.

But the good news was, in the weeks leading up to Friday’s final, Wingert was able to practice with professional CFL kickers Noel Prefontaine and Justin Medlock of the Argos and Sandro DeAngelis of the Ticats. However, when his first attempt from 20 yards went wide left, one couldn’t help but think that he was getting lessons from Scott Norwood.

Wingert said he was actually shocked that he missed the 20-yarder.

“Absolutely I was,” he said. “Because, in practice, the 20’s were pretty much automatic for me. So, going in, I was banking on hitting the 20.”

Still, you couldn’t really dump on the poor guy for missing his first attempt. Just before he took the field at halftime, he was forced to watch Prefontaine miss from 58-yards. Prefontaine’s attempt fell well short.

Not a great omen.

And then, just before his four attempts, Wingert had to put up with a number of distractions, including listening to a pack of TSN personalities yammer on about this and that and the other thing.

And then, as he made his way to the 20 yard line for his first kick, he was followed by a pair of comely Argo cheerleaders waving their pom poms in the air and shaking their booty. So it was no great shock that, with visions of prancing babes and babbling suits in his head, Wingert missed wide left from 20.

But then he nailed the 30-yarder for the Nissan 370Z Roadster.

Unfortunately, his 40 yard attempt was a disaster.

Again — and it makes you wonder — prior to the big $1 million attempt from 50 yards out, Wingert had to stand there and sweat while they cut to a commercial. Needless to say, his attempt from the 50 wasn’t close, though he did kick the damn thing 36 yards for $36,000.

Turns out, he never really had a chance for the $1 million.

Wingert said he only practiced kicking from 50 yards once, last week at Ivor Wynne Stadium with DeAngelis, and never really came close.

Still, it was a wonderful night for the affable Regina native, who took a job as a valet with the Hilton hotel in Niagara Falls after being severanced out from his consultant job a year and a half ago. He is currently going through the screening process to join the RCMP.

Wingert insisted that he felt relaxed and calm before Friday’s big event, partly because he no longer had to compete against another kicker, as he did in the quarter and semi-finals, and because he felt there were positive vibes in the air.

When the Argos were in Moncton, N.B. three weeks ago for their game against the Edmonton Eskimos, Wingert also made the trip east, and worked with Medlock, who was let go by the Argos just last week. An experience he really enjoyed and appreciated.

“The next week, when I was back working at the Hilton, I brought a car down for a guest,” he said. “And when I got out, the guy said, ‘Hey, I know you.’ And when I looked up, it was Medlock and his girlfriend. He had actually checked into the wrong hotel, so I had to direct him to the right hotel.”

A good omen?

He did get the car and $36,000.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

twitter beezersun


Videos

Photos