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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Luke’s Bagels holds one-year anniversary competition, UF students take home prizes

Connor Murray was willing to cliff jump off a 50-foot quarry to win a bagel for the rest of the year

Luke’s Bagel shop at 620 S Main St., held a bagel competition on social media. UF students placed first and second, winning free bagels and t-shirts. (Photo courtesy of Drew Britton, April 8)
Luke’s Bagel shop at 620 S Main St., held a bagel competition on social media. UF students placed first and second, winning free bagels and t-shirts. (Photo courtesy of Drew Britton, April 8)

Jumping off a 50-foot quarry on March 28 near Newberry Road, Connor Murray filmed a video for a bagel competition.

On Friday, Murrary took home one of the first place prizes. 

“I thought of the craziest thing I could do, and that was cliff jumping. I bought a bagel that morning and winged it,” Murray said.  

To celebrate its one-year anniversary, Luke’s New York Bagel Shop posted an online social media competition March 22. Located at 620 S Main St., the shop challenged bagel fans to post something creative on their accounts with their favorite order in frame. By April 2, the shop picked nine winners instead of three because it received more than 100 submissions. Three winners placed first, three placed second and three placed third. 

Shop owner Luke Vescovi decided to do the social media post to see his loyal customers post about the shop. 

“I feel like it worked out pretty well,” he said. “We were appreciative to see the participants’ experiences with the shop.”

He didn’t see plenty of submissions because they were posted on private accounts, he said. The shop’s directions told customers with private accounts to take a screenshot of their posts and send them to the shop’s account over direct message to qualify. 

Vescovi was impressed with how far Murray was willing to go for the competition but doesn’t encourage that behavior.

“The editing alone was phenomenal, and the kid could’ve died,” he said. “He did a backflip off the quarry.” 

As a top winner, the 21-year-old UF mechanical engineering senior will receive one free bagel every week for the rest of the year and a limited edition Luke’s T-shirt. Second place winners won a free bagel every week until the end of June 20 and a T-shirt, while third place winners also won a T-shirt and will receive a free breakfast.

Murray’s love for bagels stretches back to his youth when he lived in New Jersey. There, he ate authentic New York bagels. Since the shop opened March 25, 2020, he’s gone to grab a bagel every week. 

“Once Luke’s opened, I tried their bagels, and I was like, ‘This is the real deal,’” he said.

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When he saw the competition posted, he believed it was worth participating in. 

He came up with the idea on March 28, the last day of the competition. He had a rough outline for his minutelong Instagram video. In it, Murray talked about the competition while he ate a rainbow bagel, before he did flips off the cliff. 

Cliff jumping is something Murray craves and has done for more than five years. As air rushes through his face and against his body, he said the feeling is euphoric. 

During his freshman year at UF, he found the quarry near Newberry Road after he browsed Google Maps. He could tell the area was a quarry by the color of the water and shape of it. After he drove out to the spot with friends, he decided it was a good area to practice his cliff jumping. 

Murray said his safety is a priority, so he and his friends swam in the water first to be sure there were no rocks or logs in it that could hurt him if he jumped.

“Jumping from any height, you're usually entering the water with pretty good velocity, and you will go down deep,” he said. “If you were to hit anything unexpectedly, it can result in some serious damage.”

Practicing on smaller jumps is very important to feel comfortable with how to handle your body in the air, as well as when you are entering the water, he said. On the day someone plans to go cliff jumping, it’s important to calm your nerves and trust you know what you're doing.

UF junior Talley Murphy and Mariana Monforte took second place. They dressed up as T-Bo, a character from the TV show “iCarly.” T-Bo is known for an episode in which it sells bagels on a stick. 

Murphy and Monforte, who live close to the bagel shop and often order breakfast there. Murphy, a 20-year-old UF health science student, said placing in the competition would save her and Monforte money. 

In their social media submission, the pair wore matching outfits identical to the actor’s clothes in the episode and held a stick with bagels on it as they stood outside the bagel shop. Murphy posted the picture of the two on her Instagram story and wrote “best served vertically!” and tagged the shop’s account. 

The two have re-watched “iCarly” since Netflix added the Nickelodeon show to its streaming platform. They realized if they dressed up as T-Bo, it would make people laugh and increase their chance to win.

“I was actually going to dress up as T-Bo for Halloween, but I never did,” she said. “I thought this would be the perfect event to wear the outfit.”

Drew Britton is a contributing writer for The Alligator. Follow her on Twitter @DrewBritton7.

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