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Wednesday, November 17, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 62

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For Conde, 'Cougar' has a new meaning

By Reagan Graham
Daily Cougar Staff 

Freshman Carlos Conde got the shock of his life when he heard he had won a 1999 Mercury Cougar at the Nov. 6 UH vs. Tulane football game.

Conde's name was drawn from among those of 80 students entered to win the car, which was donated by Northwood Lincoln Mercury, and he rode off the field in the Cougar at halftime of the game.


Freshman Carlos Conde gets behind the wheel of his new Mercury Cougar, which he won in a halftime drawing at the Nov. 6 UH-Tulane football game.

Pete Medrano/The Daily Cougar

"I heard my name. I said, 'Let me hear it ring across the stadium,'" Conde said. "I said, 'That's me!'"

This year was the first for the Cougar giveaway. UH Athletics Director Chet Gladchuk said the contest wasn't just about giving away a car; it was about increasing enthusiasm and spirit during football season.

"It was something we thought of at the beginning of the season," Gladchuk said. "(It was) a new look and a new opportunity to add to the dimensions of excitement and to spur some enthusiasm in our students."

Northwood spokesman Keith Brice said the choice of car was easy. "The Mercury Cougar worked perfectly with your mascot," he said.

Just two days before the game, Conde and his father had purchased a 1999 Mazda Protégé. But Conde, proud to have the Cougar registered under his own name, said he plans to keep both cars and work extra hours to help pay the insurance.

He said he plans to drive the Cougar on weekends and when he isn't working. And he's been driving carefully.

"When I first drove it home, I didn't want to take it anywhere. I didn't want to take it out too much, and I didn't want to leave it," he said.

Conde's first trip was to his girlfriend's house. He said he had fooled her before the game by telling her he had won floor tickets to the Ricky Martin concert. "(Then) I had said, 'Wouldn't it be funny if my name was drawn and I won the car?'"

Not surprisingly, Conde said his girlfriend had a hard time believing he had won the Cougar.

This year's promotion marked the beginning of a five-year contract between Northwood and UH under which the dealership will provide prizes to promote school spirit. Prizes are now being considered for the basketball season.

Brice said the dealership feels strongly about supporting the community and the University, and Gladchuk said he is happy to accept any such offer.

"It's all in spirit and in fun and for the enjoyment of our students," he said.
 

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