Book Hotel Buy Tickets
2015 Hyundai “Hands On” Contest Winner

Chantilly Resident Wins 2015 Sonata in the Hyundai Hands-On Contest!
Nightly Stash of Beef Jerky Helped Him “Hang On”

Contest Rules & Regulations


WASHINGTON, D.C. – After five nights of sleeping with his hand wedged into the spokes of a wheel and surviving off of carefully rationed portions of food – namely, beef jerky – 23-year-old Paul Vaughn of Chantilly, Va. drew the lucky key that unlocked the Hyundai Sonata and a new future for himself.

“I’m a real big numbers guy, so I know the chances of these things working out,” Vaughn said, marveling at his luck. “This time, not only did it happen to someone I knew – that person was me!”

Eight of the original nine contestants lasted through the end of the contest, which required continuous physical contact with the car, except for fifteen-minute breaks every three hours. With eight contestants remaining, the winner was determined by a random key drawing. This year marked the first time in the history of the longtime event at The Washington Auto Show that such a high proportion of contestants lasted through the run of the show.

There was a reason for that, according to the contestants, who described the great camaraderie and friendship that developed among the eight men on the car.

In fact, his fellow contestants shouted a chorus of Paul’s name, cheering him on for his win. As a consolation prize for their dedication, the other contestants each won Visa cards worth $500.

The legendary Hands-On Contest first wowed Washingtonians in 1999 when the match came down to a test of wills between a pair of officers from the army and navy.

“The Hands-On Contest is a hallmark of The Washington Auto Show that puts the thrill of a new car within arm’s reach of Washington,” said Kevin Reilly, chairman of the 2015 Washington Auto Show. “We are grateful to the Washington Area Hyundai Dealers for sponsoring this contest and allowing us to showcase Hyundai’s cutting-edge technology and award-winning products.”

For a chance at competing in the Hands-On Contest, area residents had to register through the show website,, no later than Sunday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. They were asked to provide a short explanation of why they want to win the car.

Vaughn had plastic bags designated for each meal of the day, with a reward of beef jerkey for dinner each night. “If I had to eat the beef jerky and stuff much more, I think I’d be done with beef jerky for a while,” he said. Luckily, though, “I still like beef jerky. I’m not done with it yet.”

The prize vehicle is a 2015 Hyundai Sonata SE, boasting a 185-hp, 2.4L GDI 4-cylinder engine. The wired vehicle offers a Bluetooth® hands-free phone system, iPod®/USB and auxiliary input jacks along with an AM/FM/SiriusXM/CD/MP3 audio system. Safety features such as keyless entry, electronic stability control and anti-lock braking systems have earned the vehicle its five-star crash safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminitration (NHTSA).

The 2015 Washington Auto Show ran from Jan.23-Feb.1 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and was advanced by two Public Policy Preview Days. Produced by WANADA, the Washington Auto Show offers a showcase of more than 700 new vehicles from over 42 domestic and import manufacturers.