Persistence earns Reno man a free car |

Persistence earns Reno man a free car

Dylan Riley, Appeal Staff Writer

Ryan Butler, 20, of Reno got into a car Aug. 1, but didn’t turn over the ignition until Thursday.

The 1997 Honda Accord is in good condition and so is Butler, but to get the car he had to stay in it longer than three other people.

The competition was part of a contest sponsored by a Reno radio station in cooperation with the Michael Hohl Honda Subaru dealership in Carson City.

Contestants battled each other to see who could live in the car the longest.

By a process of elimination, four contestants were narrowed down to Butler in a simple test of endurance.

Six days later, he emerged a winner.

“When you’re not going anywhere, it’s hard,” Butler said.

“They gave us a 15-minute break every two hours, but with no showers after six days, you start to stink.”

Butler said it felt “clean and refreshing” to finally get out of the car.

For being the last man standing, at least for 15 minutes every two hours, Butler received the keys to the ’97 Honda Accord worth $9,000 and a scholarship check for $2,500 Thursday.

The time Butler spent bonding with his new four-door sedan was filled with text messaging, hunting for dropped Gummi Bears in between the seats, and honking the horn at moving cars. All this was documented around the clock by cameras connected to a Web site, where people at home tired of watching their fingernails grow could tune in and watch something more exciting.

After managing to drive a car off a lot without paying for it, but rather getting paid to do so, Butler now has tentative plans to go to law school.