Lyle Randa is one of those transplanted farmboys from western Kansas who moved to Wichita two decades ago to work on planes. He takes a certain joy in keeping his garage refrigerator stocked with drinks: beer, soda, water.
So at Christmas time, when family and friends were over at his house in southwest Wichita diminishing his well-stocked supply, he made a quick beer run to El Maya Liquor near Maple and Maize Road.
“I ran up there to pick up some Bud Light,” Randa said Monday night. “I knew they were doing a promotion, but, you know, what are your chances, right?”
He picked up a 30-pack of beer, then drove home.
Never miss a local story.
As he was unpacking the box of beer and putting cans in his refrigerator, he found a gold can.
“My wife and I immediately uploaded a photo to BudLight.com,” he said.
From Nov. 28 through Jan. 13, more than 37,000 gold Super Bowl 51 cans were randomly seeded in select packs of Bud Light to give fans an opportunity to enter for a chance to win tickets to attend the Super Bowl each year for the rest of their life – up to 51 years from now. Fans could enter by uploading a can wrap online.
The cans were sent around the world.
And of all the beer joints in all the towns in all the world, the winning “Strike Gold” Super Bowl-themed can slipped into Randa’s life in Wichita.
“That can will never be opened up,” Randa said. “I am going to make a shadow box and put all my Super Bowl tickets and the can in it.”
But before he does that, he plans on going to Houston this weekend for the Super Bowl. He’ll arrive on Thursday. He’s that excited.
“They’ll be doing interviews,” he said. “I’ll be on ESPN, ‘NFL Live’ – Anheuser-Busch said this was big for them. They want to blow it up big and make it good.”
Six other contestants won a pair of season tickets to their favorite team for the 2017-18 NFL season. But only Randa’s gold can was the Willy Wonka golden ticket for a lifetime of Super Bowl attendance for two.
Randa, 52, grew up on a Rush County farm near Liebenthal. He is an avid NFL fan – with strong affection for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Minnesota Vikings. But on Sunday, he’ll be rooting for Tom Brady and the Patriots in their match-up with the Atlanta Falcons.
Next year, who knows who will go with him to the Super Bowl. He and his wife, Amy, have two sons, and Randa has nine brothers and sisters.
“I’ve got a lot of years and family,” he said. “They will all have to fight my wife for tickets down the road. I told her I’d love to take each and every one to the Super Bowl if my health is willing. Of course, I’ve seen people my age fall over dead. So knock on wood, it’s a good reason to stay healthy. … Who’d have thought a gold can of Bud Light would change my life?”
For now, he’s living the life of a celebrity.
“This is bright-lights-kind-of-crazy,” he said. “My phone has been blowing up.”