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 SEATTLE, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by Washington Mutual:
 Ever wonder what's really different about life in the Northwest?
 In Silverton, Ore., it's the annual davenport races where couches on wheels whiz along the city streets propelled by teams of runners during an annual celebration in honor of Silverton's best-known native son.
 And on Vashon Island, Wash., there's a bike-eating tree. Actually, it's a tree that grew around a child's bicycle that was abandoned many years ago and is now embedded in the trunk seven feet above the ground.
 Both the davenport races and the bike-eating tree are the grand prize winners in Washington Mutual's "That's Different" contest, a three- week competition designed to identify unusual places, things and events in the Northwest.
 The winning entries are the themes for new Washington Mutual radio advertisements that will begin running Nov. 21 throughout Oregon and Washington. The ads feature the voice of John Cullum, the actor who plays Holling on the award-winning television series, "Northern Exposure."
 "As a consumer bank we consider ourselves different from the competition, and we wanted a light-hearted campaign that also underscored what makes this region different from the rest of the country," said Deanna Oppenheimer, executive vice president of Washington Mutual, the Northwest's largest independent consumer bank and Washington's largest independent bank. "As we judged the entries it became clear that people take great pride in this area's unusual features, events and things."
 By winning the contest, Marilyn Brenden, of Silverton, and David Hakala, of Vashon, will each design a customized Northwest vacation package valued at up to $10,000 for themselves and family members. The winners were selected from nearly 3,000 individuals who entered the contest, which was part of the bank's "That's Different" advertising campaign that began in mid-February.
 In her winning entry for Oregon, Brenden described the davenport races, held annually in August during the Homer Davenport Days in Silverton -- a tribute to a well-known turn-of-the-century political cartoonist. Brenden, a school teacher for 22 years, currently is taking a leave of absence from her seventh-grade classroom to write a book.
 Brenden was one of three people who won local competitions at Washington Mutual financial centers by entering the Davenport races idea. Her name was chosen in a random drawing of the three financial center winners.
 Vashon's Hakala nominated the bicycle in the tree. A chef at a local restaurant close to where the "bike tree" was discovered, Hakala was first shown the tree by a co-worker during a coffee break about 10 years ago. He lives on Vashon Island with his wife and two children.
 Washington Mutual's travel subsidiary, Mutual Travel, will help each grand prize winner customize a vacation in the Northwest. Locations could include scuba diving in search of the world's largest octopus in Puget Sound to a float trip along the Rogue River in time for the annual Rooster Crowing Contest.
 Founded in 1889, Washington Mutual is the Northwest's largest consumer bank and Washington's largest independent bank. It operates 249 financial centers and home loan centers and is Washington's No. 1 home lender.
 Other selected financial center winning entries in Washington Mutual's "That's Different" Contest:
 -- World's smallest park, Portland
 -- Model T & Pig Race, Tillamook
 -- Sauerkraut Festival, Scappoose
 -- "Boring everything," Boring
 -- Reversible restaurants -- Larry's by day, Guido's by night,
 -- Outhouse & Pig Races, Colton
 -- 24-hour Church of Elvis, Portland
 -- Outhouse races, Beavercreek
 -- World Slug Games, slug queens, slug sipping, in various cities
 in the Northwest
 -- 100 Tubas in concert, Longview
 -- Graham's store/restaurant with breakfast in a "bed," Glacier
 -- Sea Gull Calling Contest, Port Orchard
 -- Bigfoot Report Center, Bothell
 -- Gooey Duck Day, Indianola
 -- Scotch Broom Festival, Bainbridge
 -- Firecracker Kazoo Band, Battle Ground
 -- Espresso dental clinic, Greenwood
 -- Spam carver of Everett
 -- Life-size Elvis cakes, Kent
 -0- 11/15/93
 /CONTACT: Roger Nyhus of Washington Mutual, 800-228-9268/

CO: Washington Mutual Savings Bank ST: Washington, Oregon IN: SU:

IC-JH -- SE015 -- 4802 11/15/93 22:01 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 15, 1993

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