After three long weeks of living inside a vehicle, the Kia Soul Survivor competition finally ended Tuesday. Deanna Sutorius, Vanessa Branch and Rachel Cothey all ate, slept and lived in a 2012 Kia Soul for 21 days inside the Halleen Kia dealership on Lorain Road in North Olmsted.
The ladies got only one 5-minute bathroom break per hour and a 15 minute break every 6 hours. In addition to that, they were forced to rotate positions in the car every couple hours. “We’ve been through a lot,” said Vanessa Branch, of Hudson.
The competition lasted longer than anyone imagined. Eric Halleen is co-owner of the dealership. He said, “I figured they’d last a week or maybe a week and half and it would all be over.” The ladies’ tenacity impressed the Halleen family so much they planned a surprise for them. While only one person could win the Soul, the other two women received $2,500 a piece.
“The girls have been wonderful,” said Eric Halleen. To pass the time overnight, the ladies played several pranks on the workers at Halleen Kia. They toilet papered Eric’s office and posted funny fliers throughout the dealership.
Rachel Cothey said, “We told them they had a rodent problem and then we took all the mouses off their desks and put them them out on desk and said we rounded them up. That was my favorite.” However, there were some difficult times. The women missed their families, dealt with snoring and, yes, unappealing odors.“The car smelled like wet feet,” said Deanna Sutorius.
But with a little friendship and a lot of air freshener they all made it to Tuesday’s drawing. The ladies picked a number which corresponded with a briefcase. Then, with their family and friends surrounding them, they all opened the briefcases live on Fox 8 News. Inside Rachel Cothey’s case was the winning key to the Kia Soul.
“I’m so happy,” said Cothey as she jumped up and down, crying and hugging her husband. “I kind of thought I had it. I just had a feeling.” The other ladies were clearly disappointed but happy with the cash consolation prizes. Both women said it will help out a lot with Christmas.
They also all said the contest was worth it, although they couldn’t wait to go home. “Go home and take a shower… a long shower,” said Vanessa Branch as she burst into laughter. Deanna Sutorius said, “Yeah I’d do it again. I made two new friends and a whole new family at Halleen Kia.” The event was so successful the Halleen Kia dealership is already considering running another contest, perhaps this spring.