For Kauai sales consultant Jade Moss, left, Mokihana Travel owner and manager Cheryl Michioka and King Auto Center GM Ron Valencia, are seen here in the showroom of King Auto Center Dec. 19 right after picking the winner for a trip for two to Las Vegas, with free flight, airport transportation, meals and five-night hotel stay. Photo Léo Azambuja

It was only a few days before Christmas when Karen Taketa, of Lihu‘e, received a phone call from For Kaua‘i Newspaper Editor in Chief Léo Azambuja letting her know she had just won the grand prize in a draw for a trip for two to Las Vegas.

“I was shocked,” Karen said. “And I thought you were pulling my leg.”

Once Karen realized she was really going to Vegas, with pretty much all expenses paid — penny slot machines are not included, sorry Karen — for five nights, she was thrilled.

The promotion sponsored by King Auto Center and Mokihana Travel ran for a few months on For Kaua‘i Newspaper. Anyone could go to King Auto or Mokihana to drop entries in the ballots at each business. On Dec. 19, thousands of entries from all ballots were combined into one big box at the showroom of King Auto, with King Auto GM Ron Valencia, Mokihana owner and manager Cheryl Michioka and For Kauai sales consultant Jade Moss ready to do the honors of picking the winners. Cheryl and Jade each picked up a winner for a free annual mailed subscription of For Kaua‘i, Susan Metivier and Margaret Akana. When it was time to pick up the winner for the Vegas trip, Ron kindly let Cheryl take the honor.

Karen Taketa, left, and Mokihana Travel owner and manager Cheryl Michioka at Mokihana Dec. 21. Karen had just learned the day before she had won a trip for two to Vegas, with most expenses paid, including five nights at a hotel.

To Cheryl’s surprise, she picked one of her friends and long-time customers. She and Karen go all the way back when they were both girl scouts.

The promotion includes free air travel for two from Lihu‘e to Vegas, transportation to and from the airport, five nights at a hotel, and meals. Karen has one year to use her prize, and she hasn’t decided yet who will be her lucky travel buddy.

This won’t be Karen’s first trip to the Ninth Island. Not even her second, third or fourth. In fact, she says she’s been to Vegas more times than she can count. Besides penny machines, Karen said her favorite things to do in Vegas are people-watching and going to the shows. “And of course, I have to do the reckless-at-shopping,” she said, laughing. Asked if she likes to gamble, she blushed, and said, “I won’t tell you that.” After countless Vegas trips, it seems Karen certainly understands that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Congratulations to Karen, Susan and Margaret for their prizes, and mahalo to all who participated in this exciting promotion.

We at For Kaua‘i wish everyone a Happy New Year, and that all your dreams will come true in 2018. Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou!