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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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All for the love of Hannah
Adults do what it takes to get tween star's tickets for their kids.
By REBECCA CATALANELLO, Times Staff Writer
Published November 9, 2007
[Carrie Pratt | Times]
Kimberly Owens of Melbourne touches a giant Hannah statue Thursday. The last person holding on wins.
TAMPA - Jody Powell kept his foot on one Hannah's pedestal and his eyes on another Hannah's photographed smile.
"Don't come home unless you have the tickets," 7-year-old Hannah Robinson told Powell, her soon-to-be-step-father, before he left Port Charlotte.
So, the 35-year-old - along with 19 other adults - settled into a pile of sand at 7:57 a.m. Thursday, his foot touching the base of a 12-foot, 400-pound statue of the one, the only, Hannah Montana. And if you don't know who that is, you're clearly not closely related to anyone in the 6 to 12 age range.
The parental scramble to score tickets to the soldout Nov. 19 concert starring Miley Cyrus as her Disney Channel alter-ego, Hannah Montana, took a turn for the weird as 20 parents entered a contest to be the last person holding on to Hannah Montana.
The winner of the contest, sponsored by MJ Morning Show on WFLZ-FM 93.3, gets four tickets, backstage passes and $5,000. Picked from more than 1,000 entries based on letters they wrote, the contestants get a 12-minute break every three hours; otherwise they must keep touching the statue.
They were prepared be there at least a week. By 6 p.m., three had already dropped out.
But before you decide these parents are unhealthily obsessed, consider some stories:
- Heather Vilmaire, 34, flew from St. Louis, Mo., , to win the contest for her three girls, two 11 and one 8. A year ago, Vilmaire was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her girls have been there through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. "It's been a really hard year," she said, "and they deserve to have some fun."
- Stacey Santello, 39, of Odessa, kept a framed picture of her husband, Michael, with her. Michael died of a heart attack after Christmas last year. She wants to relieve the sadness of her two children, Ryan, 11, and Victoria, 9, (who can sing every line of Hannah Montana's Everyone Makes Mistakes) - if even for one night.