Warner Robins salesman shares experience of ‘Tonight Show’ contest

bpurser@macon.comApril 2, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- Five Star Ford salesman Elvis Randolph had the experience of a lifetime.

He was among 10 car salesmen in “The Tonight Show” live webcast competition to sell host Jimmy Fallon a 2015 F-150 King Ranch truck. The winner, Pete Porzio of Frankfort, Ill., took away a commission for the truck, valued at $60,000 fully loaded.

“If you ever get the opportunity to do something like this, do it,” Randolph said. “It was a heck of an experience.”

The contest required the salesmen to keep at least one hand on the truck under the watch of referees. Breaks were only five minutes once an hour except for a 15-minute break every six hours. The contest started at 9:30 p.m. Monday right after the show was taped.

Randolph tapped out early Wednesday.

“I gave all I had 31 hours with my Fingers on the 4x4! Good luck to the other 4! Thanks for the love and support!!!” Randolph tweeted, referencing the name of the contest. The winner, Porzio, kept his hand on the truck for 38 hours and 52 minutes, according to Fallon’s Twitter page.

Reached by telephone Wednesday afternoon, Randolph said he held on as long as he could and managed to make it to a break before he bowed out.

“I felt myself falling asleep. My eyes crossed. My legs went to falling apart,” Randolph said. “I knew I wasn’t going to make it another hour. I needed sleep.”

Another contestant was disqualified about the same time.

“It was something totally different,” Randolph said. “I was shocked that I was able to stay up that long -- as long as I did.”

Once out of the contest, Randolph did an exit interview and then headed for the hotel.

“I jumped straight into bed and slept like a baby,” Randolph said.

He said he enjoyed meeting Fallon, who, Randolph said, made a point to come and talk with contestants “every chance he got.”

“He was very down to earth,” Randolph said. “He was a stand-up guy. ... It was something special to be on his show.”

Josh Thompson, general manager of Five Star Ford on Russell Parkway, said it was exciting for Randolph to be able to compete.

The contest brought good exposure for Ford and well-deserved recognition for Randolph, who’s been a loyal employee for seven years and works hard, Thompson said.

“He takes a lot of pride in his work,” Thompson said.

Randolph was among 100 nationwide to earn a Ford top sales certificate, which placed him in the running for a chance at the contest. The pool was narrowed to 33 potential contestants, with finalists selected after telephone interviews Friday.

The contest was held on the top deck of World War II aircraft carrier the USS Intrepid, which is part of a museum in New York.

Randolph said he wanted to thank all those who followed him on Twitter and Facebook, texted and called him, and kept up with him on the live webcast. He said he never would have thought he would have garnered so much attention from being in the contest.

“It was amazing,” he said.

But will the exposure land him more sales? Randolph was optimistic.

“I hope so, baby.”

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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