By Cassie Gage, OKC Barons on 11/05/2012

Jack Mitchell is no stranger to the hockey scene in Oklahoma City. As a music teacher in the Oklahoma City Public School System, Mitchell has brought numerous of students to hockey games throughout the years to sing the National Anthem.

When Mitchell’s phone rang a couple of weeks ago with a number from the Barons office on the caller ID, Mitchell thought the marketing staff was calling to confirm his group’s next singing date. Instead, Mitchell answered and found out he was a finalist for the Drive Away Every Saturday promotion at the Barons game on Oct. 20.
Mitchell entered the contest through the Express Employment Professionals website, one of eight partners of the promotion. Mitchell entered knowing he had the same chance as anyone else at walking away with a brand new GMC Sierra from John Vance Motors.
What Mitchell didn’t know the night of Oct. 20 is that he would walk away as the opener of a brand-new truck.
“I’m a preacher’s kid and both my parents were teachers,” Mitchell said. “I grew up raising cattle and put myself through college. I was a triple major. You just don’t buy things like a new vehicle when you’re trying to pay other bills. You save for retirement.”
In order to walk away with the truck, contestants had one simple task – estimate the total number of fluid ounces of Dr. Pepper cans in the bed of the truck. No one knew the answer and the exact quantity of cans was hidden from the contestant’s view by a tarp. A self-described soda-pop-aholic, it’s fitting that’s what it would come down to for Mitchell to win.
“I drink one on the way to school, one at school and one at lunch,” Mitchell said. “You’re just trying to do some math in your head. When you realize it’s under a tarp and you can’t see it, it was just taking a guess and trying not to go over.”
The exact number of fluid ounces was 15,600 fluid ounces or 1,300 12-ounce cans. Mitchell guessed 5,700 fluid ounces, the equivalent to 475 cans. After learning of the actual number, Mitchell quickly ruled himself out of the competition.
“It was pure luck, faith or karma,” he said. “I thought I was too low. When I found out I’d won, they said I could jump up or down but I was about to cry. I found out later there were people from church; people from school, the PTA president and his son were all at the game. I probably could’ve been more emotional, but I’ve never won anything like this before.”
Mitchell, who has been teaching since 1982, is set to retire from teaching at the end of this school year. How deserving of someone who has given so much to his community to be rewarded with such an amazing prize.
Mitchell wasn’t the only winner during opening weekend in Oklahoma City. To kickoff the season, the Barons gave away a Dodge Challenger Hemi on Friday, Oct. 19.
Cooley won a chance at winning the car by participating in a contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Gazette. Cooley took his chances at the contest, and, as he puts it, just went for it.
“The whole circumstance is just amazing,” Cooley said. “I’ve always wanted a Challenger since the early 1970s, when I was a teenager. I love them. It’s like a dream come true.”
For the car giveaway, 20 boxes were parachuted to the ice and each contestant chose a box. Inside one of the boxes was the key for the Challenger. Cooley remained calmed throughout the entire process – that is until he unearthed the key. That’s when his heart started racing.
“I couldn’t get my helmet off,” he said. “I was so nervous I couldn’t get the strap undone. I was very nervous. It was a state of shock. I couldn’t believe that I had the key. I didn’t to (jump up and down) because I didn’t want to fall on the ice. I didn’t want to hurt myself.”
Mitchell and Cooley took the chance of a lifetime and came away big winners, and there’s still more vehicles to be given away. A new one is up for grabs every Saturday home game for the remainder of the season. Don’t believe it? Believe Mitchell and Cooley.
They’ll tell you – dreams really do come true.

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