The Boot New Year's Eve, courtesy of Chris Lugo

It wasn't my "first rodeo," so to speak...but it was my most successful. My goal for the new year was to enter a karaoke contest at The Boot -- and win it. And I did!

I'd entered several karaoke contests in the past, with mixed results. I came in third once or twice, second a couple of times. Never first. I've won bar tabs, t-shirts, even one small cash prize. But I never won anything like this before...the prize for THIS contest was $500. Cash! (Boy, did I need it, too!) Needless to say, I was nervous as can be. I went into it knowing I at least had a shot at the big win...but I was incredibly surprised when my name was announced as the first-place winner. I cried...happy tears, though.

The young ladies who placed second and third were the two competitors I was most worried about. One of them even sang through an equipment malfunction, when the music and mic volumes dropped suddenly. And she got a ton of applause. But it was her song choice that put her slightly behind me (at least, that's what the judges told me afterward.)

My song, you ask? "What's Up?" by Four Non Blondes...what I consider the 20-something anthem for pretty much ANY new year (even though it was MY anthem during my 25th year, when it was still new.) What won it for me? Everyone in the bar was singing along! Even the people who weren't even looking at me were mouthing the words. In the words of the judges...I "owned it." It was a fun and surreal experience.

I do have to send out thanks to the crew at The Boot...they ran a very clean and well-organized contest. And if I have the opportunity to enter another one there, I certainly will make it a priority! Perhaps next New Year's?