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12-YEAR-OLD WINS EVENING ON PRESS ROW

SHARE 12-YEAR-OLD WINS EVENING ON PRESS ROW

When it comes to priorities, the Lawson family of Sandy has things in proper order.

Matt Lawson, 12, is the grand prize winner of the "Deseret News Has the Best Jazz Coverage" contest. When notified that he had won, Matt dropped the phone and started screaming for "Dad."The first thing Matt's dad, Jeff Lawson, a schoolteacher, said was, "That's great, but when is this?" When informed that Matt was sceduled to cover the Houston game Saturday night with Deseret News sports writer Kurt Kragthorpe, the next thing he said was, "Gee, we were leaving for Moab in a couple of hours for the weekend. This changes our plans."

Deseret News marketing director Steve Handy gave the Lawsons a couple of hours to decide whether they could accept. At 5 p.m. Thursday Jeff Lawson called back to say Moab would always be there but this was a once-in-lifetime opportunity for Matt to see the Jazz up close and personal.

The contest was open to boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 17. 363 entries were received. They had to write an essay, poem or story in 25 words or less about why the Deseret News has the best Jazz converage.

"Four or five of us judged the entries and had a great time," said Handy, "It was very tough because all entries were good in their own way. Matt Lawson's just struck a cord with all of us. But there are no true losers since everyone will get something."

Matt and his parents will attend the Jazz game Saturday night, have dinner in the press room and then have his picture taken with his favorite player, Karl Malone. Jeff and Marie Lawson will have courtside seats while Matt makes an appearance on JazzTalk with Dave Blackwell prior to the game. He'll then sit on press row with Kragthorpe and other sports writers and be introduced at halftime.

After the game, Matt will attend the post-game interviews in the locker room and then his work begins. He is to write a short story about the game that will appear alongside Kragthorpe's on Sunday morning.

For the record, here's Matt's entry which his father said was modeled after pop singer Billy Joel's popular song, "We Didn't Start the Fire."

Stockton, 50 wins,

Mailman, Jerry grins,

Eaton's stuff, Blue's jam

Darrell's rainbow, Thurl's slam

Miss the game? Don't despair,

Deseret News is like being there.

Ten second place winners will each receive a pair of L.A. Gear Basketball shoes. These winners are: Stephanie Ellis, 14 of Centerville; Tyler Monson, 13 of South Weber; David C. Williams, 12 of Salt Lake City; Adam Edmunds, 11 of South Jordan; Tyler Stevenson, 11 of Salt Lake City; Matt Shaw, 10 of Salt Lake City; Stephanie Shoemaker 12 of Sandy; Troy Brown, 12 of Salt Lake City; Doug Huber, 17 of Provo; and Amber Brown, 14 of Salt Lake City.

Twenty third place winners will receive a Deseret News T-shirt; 40 fourth place winners will each receive a John Stockton poster and the final 292 entries will receive a momento from the Utah Jazz. All awards will be mailed, so winners need not contact the Deseret News.