Tommy Dickerson, an 11-year-old collector from Tacoma, Wash., was excited last weekend to spend yet another Saturday night playing Pack Wars at Northwest Sports Cards, his favorite hobby shop located in the Tacoma suburb of University Place. What Dickerson didn’t know, however, was that this particular Saturday night would turn out to be, in his words, “the best night of my life.”
The first thing Dickerson and the other collectors noticed when they entered Northwest Sports Cards last Saturday was Panini America signage decorating the shop, free Panini America T-shirts, plenty of Panini America prizes on display and a video crew chronicling the event. Other than that, it was a typical pack wars night with about 50 collectors ready to rip packs for prizes. But with thoughts of wrapper-ripping filling his head, Dickerson didn’t think anything of the fact that his mom, dad, grandfather and cousin also were in attendance on this night.
After a few rounds of pack wars, store manager Rick Kane paused the festivities for a special announcement. He invited Dickerson to the front of the shop and read a letter from Panini America proclaiming that “Tommy was selected from more than 100,000 collectors at 600 hobby shops nationwide as the grand prize winner of the Panini NFL Player of the Day national sweepstakes.”
After the applause and cheers from the crowd subsided, Dickerson, who has been the store’s winner in the Player of the Day promotion for the past three years, knew what Kane would say next. His prize would be the opportunity to spend a day with an NFL player, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that includes a private party at his home for friends and family, a limousine ride to the shop for a $250 shopping spree on Panini America products and a free autograph session with the player for Northwest Sports Cards’ best customers.
“I really enjoy the Player of the Day promotion but never dreamed that I would win the grand prize,” said Dickerson. “I was excited when I won autographed cards from Earl Thomas, Paul Richardson and Alex Collins in the Player of the Day, but tonight was the best night of my life. I am so excited, it was an amazing surprise.”
Dickerson, who has been collecting cards for four years primarily focuses on football and baseball cards. He usually visits Northwest Sports Cards at least twice a week and if he’s not out of town at a baseball or basketball tournament, he never misses the monthly Saturday night pack wars. He performs chores and saves his birthday money to fund his hobby but once he turns 16, he plans to get a job at Northwest Sports Cards.
“Tommy is one of the nicest and most appreciative 11-year-olds you will ever know,” said Don Knutsen, owner of Northwest Sports Cards. “We were elated to hear Tommy was the grand prize winner as he epitomizes the type of collector we all should want to represent our great hobby. He typically visits our store a couple times a week with his parents and grandparents, but during the Panini America Player of the Day promotions we see him twice as often.”
Dickerson’s favorite football product during the 2016 season was 2016 Elite Football, from which he pulled a Dak Prescott autograph card. Among his other memorable pulls include a Garrett Grayson Prizm 1/1 and a Score Ryan Tannehill/Lamar Miller numbered to just 10.
“It’s exciting to see Tommy’s passion for collecting cards and we can’t wait to create an unforgettable day for him, his friends, family and the loyal customers at Northwest Sports Cards,” said Jason Howarth, Vice President of Marketing for Panini America. “In every pack of Panini NFL trading cards, collectors have a chance to get closer to their favorite NFL players. That’s usually through uncovering a card, a piece of memorabilia or an autograph. But every year we truly bring the experience to life for one lucky winner in the NFL Player of the Day promotion.”
The 2016 Panini NFL Player of the Day promotion included more than 600 hobby shops and marks the 16th consecutive year that the NFL Player of the Day program has given an NFL card collector the chance to spend the day with an NFL player. Past players have included: Jeremy Langford, Terrence West, Antonio Brown, Prince Amukamara, Beanie Wells, Pierre Thomas, Patrick Crayton, Steve Slaton, AJ Feely, Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Simms, Rudi Johnson, Donald Driver, Ed McCaffrey, Chad Pennington and Frank Wycheck.
Check out a quick gallery of last Saturday’s announcement event at Northwest Sports Cards and stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance for complete coverage of Dickerson’s grand-prize event.