Archive for Thursday, February 10, 2005

Couple’s SuperBowl trip simply ‘superb’

February 10, 2005

Getting married, having children and grandchildren are the only life events Joe and Toni Lybarger, a longtime Basehor couple, found more thrilling than last weekend's trip to Jacksonville, Fla., for SuperBowl XXXIX.

"It was superb," Toni said. "They treated us like . . ."

"Royalty," Joe said, "they really did."

Hey, a free weekend under the warm Florida sun and one chock-full of ex-presidents, NFL players, musical greats and celebrities would have you singing the same praises, too.

In December, the Lybargers won an all-expenses paid trip, valued at $17,250, for four nights staying aboard a cruise ship and 11 tickets to Sunday's Eagles v. Patriot's game courtesy of a Southwest Airlines sweepstakes giveaway. In addition to numerous other perks, the couple, along with their children and grandchildren, got to meet NFL stars Peyton Manning, Jerome Bettis, Tony Gonzalez and Priest Holmes during a luncheon hosted by ESPN celebrity Chris Berman.

Each of the 11 family members received numerous autographs memorabilia from players.

"My son was talking to Priest Holmes like they'd known each other for years," Toni said.

Berman, he of Sportscenter fame for dolling out nicknames, even came up with one for Toni Lybarger. He said Toni was like "George Washington-I-can't-ever-tell-a-Lie-barger," Toni said.

For the game, the family was seated in a corner section of the end zone on the lower level. From there, the couple had a fantastic vantage view for the game, former presidents George H. Bush and Bill Clinton's participation in the coin toss and Paul McCartney's halftime show, which included a rendition of "Live and Let Die."

Although the perks were great, the weekend was ultimately about family. The trip to Jacksonville provided the Lybargers with the first family reunion in three years.

"It surpassed our expectations," Toni said. "It surpassed anything I ever thought it could be. I'll probably never fly anything but Southwest again."

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