Elizabeth Graham will take the trip of her dreams this summer.
It’s not a cruise to the Bahamas or a week in Paris. It’s a trip to the 2012 ESPY awards.
Graham was the winner of ESPNU’s Ultimate College Sports Fan contest.
Contestants submitted one-minute videos saying why they believed they were the biggest college sports fans. The grand prize is an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the ESPYs in Los Angeles.
The annual award show, hosted by ESPN, honors the best athletes and most memorable moments from the world of sports.
Graham, 23, is an electrical engineering graduate student and has been at UF for six years. She said she is ecstatic her video won, and she cannot wait to get to California.
She’s taking her boyfriend, Alex Everett, a 21-year-old chemical engineering senior.
“When I heard about the contest, I didn’t even know about the prize,” Graham said. “Most of my friends will tell you that I am one of the most passionate fans, so that’s why I decided to enter — because I knew I fit the description.”
The video submissions were judged based on ratings given by viewers, creativity, relevance to the contest theme and entertainment value.
After the judging period was over, five finalists were chosen for a voting round. Whoever got the most votes on Facebook by April 3 won the grand prize.
Graham said she spread the word through Facebook and Twitter while enlisting the help of friends and family.
“My mom basically sent out an email to her entire address book,” Graham said. “One of my mom’s co-workers said she thought the video actually undersold how big of a Gator fan I am, but I only had one minute.”
Telecommunication sophomore Daniel Gibble, 20, said he was going to enter the contest too, but he missed the deadline.
“It’s probably a good thing I didn’t enter,” Gibble said. “Elizabeth seems like a much bigger sports fan than I am.”
Graham, who has attended at least one sporting event for every sports team at UF, said her love of Gator sports began before she ever set foot on campus.
Graham said she remembers watching her first Florida basketball game and knew she was in for something special.
“I remember following them all the way through the tournament, and then they won! After that, I knew I was going to go to every single basketball game.”
Until she leaves for the July 11 award show, Graham said she’ll continue doing what she does best: cheering on her teams.
“Yes, there’s a crappy feeling you get when you lose,” Graham said, “but fortunately for me, I go to a school like Florida where that doesn’t happen as much. I get to experience the amazing feeling of us winning a lot more than the disappointment of us losing.”
Elizabeth Graham, winner of ESPNU’s Ultimate College Sports Fan contest, poses in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Wednesday.