Gossage Admits to April Fool's Joke with $100,000 Offer to KSCS' Terry Dorsey; Speedway Children's Charities to Benefit
Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage admitted Thursday that his $100,000 challenge to Terry Dorsey, host of the Dorsey Gang morning show on Dallas/Fort Worth country music radio station 96.3 KSCS, was indeed an April Fool’s Day prank.
Dorsey announced Wednesday morning on his show that he accepted Gossage’s six-figure offer to legally change his name to TexasMotorSpeedway.com for one year and get a permanent TexasMotorSpeedway.com tattoo. The two played out the prank throughout the day, but Dorsey owned up to the joke on this morning’s Dorsey Gang show.
The gist of the prank from the outset was for the Dorsey Gang, who brought Gossage into the mix, to ultimately generate publicity for Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter. Rather than Dorsey giving his name up for TexasMotorSpeedway.com on April Fool’s Day, he and Dorsey Gang co-host Hawkeye announced they are giving their names to Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter by volunteering as official spokesmen for 2010.
Dorsey and Hawkeye pledged on the show to help SCC-Texas increase its overall charitable funds by – appropriately -- $100,000 by the end of the year. In 2009, SCC-Texas distributed $1 million to children’s programs in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties and has generated more than $6.7 million since its inception since 1997.
Dorsey and Hawkeye already began their roles as SCC-Texas spokesmen by promoting the non-profit organization’s new “Mobile Text-To-Give” program, where fans can text SCC to 20222 and automatically donate $10 to SCC-Texas.
“We may have pulled the wool over some people’s eyes, but when the lights came on we revealed a wonderful way to give back to the children of North Texas,” Dorsey said. “Media outlets as far away as Romania reported the offer. We’re hoping that Speedway Children’s Charities will get the same kind of publicity in the upcoming year.”
KSCS is infamous for annually being part of creative April Fool’s Day pranks and one of their most memorable came in 2003. KSCS started a hoax that the world’s largest zoo was being built in Denton, Texas that year. The prank came complete with a press release, website, phone number and local media invites to the April opening. To top it off, they aired reports on April Fool’s Day that a gate malfunction allowed a giraffe and baboons to escape and run rampant through Denton.
“We’ve done some memorable April Fool’s jokes over the past years, but this year we wanted to tie it into something special and that was the plan from the start,” Dorsey said. “That’s why Eddie was so amenable to being part of it.”
Texas Motor Speedway also has had some previous fun on April Fool’s Day, announcing on that day in 2008 that it would begin a $900 million retractable roof project for the facility. The release included facts and figures on the project; comments from Sports Illustrated fictional April Fool’s character Sidd Finch of AFD Construction; and the first letter of each word in the headline – Alluring Project Requires Incredible Logistics For Oval Of Landmark Significance – spelled out April Fools.
The prank with KSCS may have been a bit more disguised since it began prior to April Fool’s Day and Gossage was unaware of the reach of a story when it goes viral. When the initial story came out Tuesday about the challenge, the Texas Motor Speedway Facebook fan page gained more than 300 new fans within hours. On Wednesday, the TMS website had a dramatic spike by tripling its average daily hits with fans following the story and Twitter was abuzz about it.
“Our fans seemed to get a real kick out of it and they offered us plenty of counter-proposals. It was all in fun. Unfortunately, I’ve got some media upset with me about this stunt, but most laughed it off,” said Gossage, who played up the prank on his own Facebook page, which included posting the $100,000 check that was prepared for Dorsey. “It was a local radio prank that caught fire and surprisingly took off nationally and internationally. I have to admit that I got a full education on viral marketing and its power in spreading quickly and worldwide. Lessons learned, for sure. I think the folks around here may place me on Facebook probation after this one.”