Leave it to a Minnesotan to look sufficiently awkward in a vacation photo to win a contest. St. Paul's Derek Larson submitted the following July 4-themed entry to the Embassy Suites Awkward Family Vacation Photo Contest. It was picked out of 1,300 terrible photos and then received the most public votes out of 20 finalists.
Yes, those are modified KFC chicken buckets that the Larsons are wearing!
Why would Larson subject himself to mock and ridicule? As the winner, his family gained a two week vacation to Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk property in Hawaii.
Larson had reviewed the many awkward photos taken by his parents, and chose this one from 1982 of (from left to right) his sister Maureen, mother Karen, father Harry, brother Mike and himself. He was about 13 at the time.
"I was awkward and nerdy enough then to think it was a really good idea" to wear the costume, with the hats made by his mom, Larson said.
Larson stayed up until 2 a.m. overnight watching the public voting, and learned officially this morning that his family had won. What put this picture over the top (other than his family's voting and social media campaign)?
"The shorts up to our chest certainly helped out quite a bit, I think," he said.
And then there is the oddly shirtless tennis player waving in the background.
Larson, who works in retirement planning for the U.S. Postal Service, said his wife and four children were excited by the news. Now the family has to figure out who all gets to go to Hawaii. Winning secures a two-week stay and $15,000 for airfare and other expenses.
Larson doesn't have any awkward photos of his own wife and kids, as far as he can tell, he said. "Maybe 30 years in the future, we'll realize (that we look awkward). But not now. We look pretty normal."