Ben Vahey Wins Big


By Ryan Pike 
Managing Editor for Writing and Reporting

Photo by Ryan Pike 
Managing Editor for Writing and Reporting


Many Jamesville-DeWitt High School students enter all sorts of different contests by retweeting offers on Twitter, mailing in entries or participating in raffles. All of these contests are entered with the same goal in mind: win a prize. Sophomore Ben Vahey is one of the few people at J-DHS who can say he’s won a contest before, but his luck didn’t stop after one win. He’s won the same contest a whopping three times in six months.

The contest Vahey has found this unusual success in is the daily “Malarkey” contest held on 93Q’s morning radio show, “Ted and Amy in the Morning.” Malarkey is a classic example of a radio game-show. The hosts accept three contestants who call in to the station, callers 10, 11 and 12, and presents them with a trivia question. The show’s two hosts, Ted Long and Amy Robbins, then present two possible answers, and a third special guest provides a third option. One of these choices correctly answers the question, and the caller who correctly guesses which host is telling the truth wins the prize for that day.

Since December 2012, Vahey has been calling in to Malarkey while he rides the morning bus to J-DHS. He said he was inspired by junior Kevin Alkins, who won Malarkey during the 2011-12 school year. “I thought, ‘I gotta get involved in this. This sounds fun,’” said Vahey.

Since he began calling, Vahey has been a contestant four times and a winner thrice. He won in January, April and June of 2013. “The first [prize] I won some stupid girl prize. It was junk,” Vahey stated. He gave the prize, a “Sex in the City”-themed gift package, to his mother. Vahey found his second prize more desirable; he won tickets to see the popular folk-rock band The Lumineers in concert at CMAC in Canandaigua on June 7. On June 4, the week of the Lumineers concert, Vahey won a free movie pass. “The whole bus started cheering for me,” said Vahey; “it was awesome.”

Malarkey winners are barred from participating in the contest for 30 days after a win, so between wins, Vahey has been forced to find a new way to spend his mornings on Bus 229. He chose to help others. Since Vahey first won in January, he has helped six of his fellow bus-riders become participants in Malarkey. Freshman Allie Balotin is the only one of the six who has won a prize; she won tickets to see Ke$ha in concert in the Carrier Dome during Syracuse University’s annual Block Party this past April.

Freshman Reed Jaworski was a contestant recently as well. “I got on the bus and Ben just kind of looked at me and said, ‘Malarkey’s gonna be on,’” said Jaworski; “At the end of the song he said, ‘Get ready to call Malarkey.’” Jaworski followed Vahey’s instructions and was a contestant on the show. However, there was a small error made on the part of the people in charge of Malarkey. “They called him ‘Reese’ on the air!” Vahey said with a laugh.

Vahey’s fellow sophomores Paddy Hagan, Mack Palin and Kyle Torrens have also participated thanks to Vahey’s coaching. Torrens, a two-time contestant, said that Vahey sends him a text every evening to remind him to call in the following morning. “[Vahey] was having lots of fun, and I decided that I wanted to have some fun too,” said Torrens; “I got on [the show] and I thought it was kind of cool, so I kept calling.”

With the school year coming to a close, some might expect Vahey to stop participating in Malarkey. On the contrary, he expects to compete even more this summer than he did during the school year. “I’m gonna set my alarm for 7 a.m. and go from there,” Vahey affirmed. And who knows, by the time we return to the halls of J-DHS in the fall, we may have a four-time Malarkey champion in our midst.