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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — If it were a sports bet, odds are so slim even Vegas would take it.

Two Misawa airmen from the same shop in the 35th Communications Squadron have won NFL-themed trips — one to the Super Bowl and the other to the Pro Bowl.

Airman Kenneth Holley, 20, will go to Phoenix for the Super Bowl from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5.

Airman 1st Class Ricky Parham, 21, heads to Honolulu from Feb. 7 to Feb. 12 for the Pro Bowl. Both work in voice network systems.

Their names were drawn randomly from thousands of entries in the U.S. Air Force Services Agency’s “Football Frenzy” contest, said Misawa collocated club officials.

Two winners were picked from four major Air Force commands, including Pacific Air Forces, said club manager Denis Hansard.

Two winners from the same base, “that’s never happened,” he said. “Two from the same shop, that’s on another level.”

To enter, club members dropped their names in a box at “Football Frenzy” events, held Tuesday nights at the club during tape-delayed “Monday Night Football” games. Entries were mailed weekly, with Misawa submitting a total of 317 entries, said Patricia Russ, supervisor of club operations and marketing and entertainment specialist. In all, about 10,000 entries were received worldwide, officials said.

Parham said he entered two or three times. Holley, with a sheepish smile, said he entered only once, and only at the insistence of a friend.

The airmen found out Monday they won. Friends didn’t believe Holley.

“At first they thought I was lying. They thought it was a trick,” he said.

When the truth sank in, the inevitable question was, “Who are you taking?” Holley said.

“I had to break it down to them. Sorry.”

Joining Holley will be his childhood friend from Atlanta, Airman 1st Class Johnny Thompson, who’s stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Holley is an Atlanta Falcons fan but says he wouldn’t mind seeing the undefeated New England Patriots play “just because I want to see history.”

Parham, from Panama City, Fla., is just as pleased to be going to the Pro Bowl. Favorite player Clinton Portis, a running back for the Washington Redskins and a former University of Miami star, may see playing time.

Parham’s taking his girlfriend.

“I couldn’t decide between my dad and my brother, so I just picked her to be fair,” he said.

Both trip packages include roundtrip airfare from Misawa, lodging, game tickets, a rental car, and opportunities to attend special pre-game events.

Holley summed up the best part about winning in a few words: “Just being away, my best friend, chilling, football.”

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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