When it comes to texting, I’ll admit, my fingers aren’t the fastest in town. I see people on the street whose fingers appear as a blur as they cover the keyboard at lightning speed, hammering out a message in the time it takes some slower handset users to find the dash key.
There’s one kid from Rhinelander, Wisconsin who’s just turned his texting prowess into cash. Austin Wierschke picked up a cool $50,000 on Wednesday afternoon, winning the US National Texting Championship for the second year in a row.
The competition, which took place in New York’s Times Square, brought together 11 of America’s most skillful key-tappers, with 17-year-old Austin coming out on top.
All contestants used the same LG Optimus Zip handset (the competition is, after all, sponsored by LG), which was sent out prior to the showdown so they could all get used to the feel of the phone and its slider Qwerty keyboard.
To bag the cash prize, texters had to show speed, accuracy and dexterity with their handset. Tests included texting blindfolded (like we all need to do that from time to time), and with their hands behind their back (ditto). Finally, in the ‘text blitz’ round, Austin and his fellow competitors were timed to see how fast they could tap out a message in the regular fashion (ie. looking at the screen), copying words flashed up on a screen. Helping him toward his prize, Austin managed to complete a 149-character message in a blistering 39 seconds.
Austin, who says he has “abnormally fast thumbs,” told reporters that in preparation for the competition he was sending as many as 500 texts a day to friends.
The master texter plans to save his winnings for college.