My Earliest Competition Win – From 1988!

The first time I ever went abroad was a family trip to Austria in the summer of 1988. As I’d reached the age of 16 by this time, I’d had many a year of envy at friends describing their trips to Florida and Spain. This, however, was my time!

mtv80sThe room had a TV with MTV on it. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t in English, it was MTV! The commercials had boobs in them, which was mind-blowing to my young, adolescent mind.

MTV was going into overdrive about the ongoing Michael Jackson world tour for his album Bad. Wherever he went, there was footage of roads mobbed with screaming kids, cars inching through the throng, and the man himself waving from hotel balconies.


I was a big fan. I remember my dad getting me Thriller on vinyl and my mum buying me Bad on cassette. 1988 was a lot of O grade exams, miming drums to Paradise City and playing computer games while listening to my tape collection. Bad got a lot of airplay in my room.

The holiday ends, and we’re on our way home. My parents go to buy a paper in Glasgow Airport but the only one they have left is Today. Today was a short-lived 80s newspaper who’s chief claim to fame was that it was the first daily paper printed in colour. They bought a copy.

Inside the paper was a competition to win VIP tickets to see Michael Jackson at Wembley stadium. It was a postal competition. Most competitions were postal in the 80s. Even Swap Shop. (The infamous 01 811 8055 was for asking guests questions, not competitions.) Noel Edmonds had huge clear plastic orbs lowered to him on springy cables full of postcards. That week’s guest would pull out the winning entry for a Bigtrak or a signed Modern Romance guitar. It was how things were done.


I had left-over postcards from my holiday and some stamps, so I entered. I posted it off and that was that.

A few days later, the phone rang. I answered it and a lady asked for me. She told me she was from Today newspaper and that she was delighted to tell me that I’d won the Michael Jackson competition. My hands were shaking. I wrote down the details and phoned up my dad. He arranged it all – I was in shock. I wasn’t a comper by any means but this was huge.

So, we went. We went to London to see Michael Jackson turn into a werewolf, perform Billie Jean, Beat it, all of Bad, all the hits – including the Jackson Five classics. We also saw support act Kim Wilde’s boob fall out of her dress. All in all, it was an amazing experience.

It was some summer, the summer of ‘88.

What was your best early win?


  1. tracy kenny
    25 January 2016

    Hi, I think I may have told you this before but the first competition I ever won ,and the one that set me on the comping path was…tickets to see Michael Jackson at Wembley from the Today newspaper.Unfortunately I couldn’t go and have regretted it to this day……things in common eh.I also have the exact same thing as you about the letterbox….nobody dares to intercept my post .

  2. Miss Tracy Hanson
    12 February 2016

    My first prize was a scarf and a baby name book (both of which went to a good home), I only did it because I knew the answer (but knew that I could give the prizes to friends so they weren’t wasted). Had a win today too, so I’m happy. 🙂 Sorry, that’s a bit of a me me me comment.

    • 14 February 2016

      It’s great winning prizes for friends. Everyone feels great!

  3. 14 February 2016

    Wow what an amazing win. I’ve won a couple of things, nit as big as your win but included tickets to see Leicester Tigers and DVD’s.

  4. 14 February 2016

    What a great prize to win. Not sure I remember what my first win was but my best one was definitely a holiday!

  5. 14 February 2016

    What a great prize! My first was a cd player in pub christmas raffle, I’ve had a few little ones since then but nothing major. still time though!

  6. 14 February 2016

    I won a Ghostbuster mug when I was 10 can’t think I have won anything since ha

  7. 14 February 2016

    I think the first ever competition that I won was a Bros Mug from Smash Hits Magazine, I have no idea what happened to it!

  8. 14 February 2016

    What a great prize, The only thing I can remember winning was a sticker book in a raffle at school! Don’t think Ive won anything since then, Ha.

  9. 14 February 2016

    Wow – what a win! My first (and only) win was a Sindy watch when i was about 10. Our family dog chewed it. Devastated was not the word. Kaz

  10. 15 February 2016

    Wow!! What a brilliant win!! I love entering comps, my biggest win so far was a tablet.

  11. 16 February 2016

    Wow what a fab prize, I bet you loved it. I think my earliest win was Craig david tickets in a radio contest. It was a text the answer and I thought nothing of it but just text as my dad was driving me to work and I got a phone call an hour later to say I had won. Great memories and me and my best mate had a fab time.

  12. allison sullivan
    8 August 2016

    omg wow just wow my first comp win was i think in the magazine look in or was it smash hits anyways i won 25 photos of bros yes you heard right bros and i was a brossette.i was the envy of my friends i was around 13-14 year old and i tore out the entry and posted it and woosh i won photos and i still have them eeekkk im 43 and i still have my bros pics after all these years lol

  13. 13 February 2017

    Mine was my first win, a two-night stay at the Silentnight Suite in Alton Towers and ultimate fast-track tickets for myself and my family 🙂

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