Jim Houck sits astride the 2006 Victory Hammer motorcycle he won in a radio contest.
For Jim Houck, the Victory couldn't have been sweeter.
The Brazil resident was one of 103 finalists in the Summer to Ride contest sponsored by Terre Haute radio station WVVR 105.5 (The River). On June 10, he was the 73rd in line to see if his key was the one that would start the grand prize: a custom 2006 Victory Hammer motorcycle.
"Once I got up there, I was shaking a little," he said.
But that nervousness would soon turn into elation.
"When I turned it and it started, forget about it."
Houck, who said he has never entered a radio call-in contest in his life, didn't seem to know how to react.
He rested his head on the bike's handlebars for a moment, let out a victorious yelp or two and accepted a hug from motorcycle model McKenzie.
Houck couldn't be happier with his new bike, wrapped in a custom black-on-yellow paint job, drowning in chrome and worth close to $20,000.
"To me, it's just a work of art," he said.
Sitting astride his new wheels during an interview with the Brazil Times on Thursday, Houck thanked co-sponsors Victory of Terre Haute and The River for what he called "the chance of a lifetime."
"You couldn't ask for a nicer bunch of people," he said. "I'm forever grateful to them."
He also offered a word of consolation to perennial radio-contest losers.
"You know," he said, "nice guys don't always finish last."