“A fun week in hell.” A conversation with the “Moving into a Mirage” contestants

On Friday, August 17th, Amber Burton, Jenna Elliot, Dean Longworth, and Ryan Mazzei competed in the “Moving into a Mirage” contest at Saskatoon Mitsubishi.

At 7:00 am, all four contestants took their seat in their new temporary home, a compact 4-door hatchback Mitsubishi Mirage. At the end of the week, one person would be driving away with a brand-new car and potentially, a new fear of open spaces.

Meet the contestants

Amber Burton poses on day one and day seven of the "Moving into a Mirage" contest.

Image source: Cruz FM

Dean Longworth poses on day one and day seven of the "Moving into a Mirage" contest.

Image source: Cruz FM

Ryan Mazzei poses on day one and day seven of the "Moving into a Mirage" contest.

Image source: Ryan Mazzei

Jenna Elliot poses on day one and day seven of the "Moving into a Mirage" contest.

Image source: Cruz FM

Results of the “Moving into a Mirage” contest

Amazingly, all four contestants remained in the Mirage for the duration of the contest. To determine the final winner, all four contestants selected two sets of keys and whoever chose the keys that started the Mirage would win the vehicle.

Ultimately, Ryan Mazzei chose the correct key and was awarded the brand new 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage. Saskatoon Mitsubishi, Rayner Agencies, and Uniglobe Carefree Travel also gave each contestant a consolation prize. Amber Burton walked away winning $1,000 cash, Jenna Elliot will enjoy a trip to Las Vegas and Dean was awarded $1,500 towards any Wyant Group product or service.

During the week, “what happened in the Mirage stayed in the Mirage” but was viewable via a livestream at Cruz FM. So, we caught up with the four contestants to tell us what was going through their heads over the course of the week.

Did you have any weak moments, or any times you thought, “I might not be able to do this.”?

Ryan: Yes there were moments. I had received news that my uncle had passed away just two weeks before the contest started and yet my first visitors at the break were my Aunt Lori and cousin Katie. For his wife and daughter to take the time to see me and support me in a silly contest warmed me to tears. There was no way I was going to leave that vehicle after that.

Dean: I definitely had weak moments. The first night it was 61 degrees and I froze my [expletive] off.

Amber: Yes, when it was extremely cold, I was very frustrated and thought about leaving the car that night.

Dean: Also seeing my family leave the dealership was really hard because I had to stay. But I knew I was in it for the long haul, so I just had to dig in.

Jenna: I actually didn’t have any weak moments in the car, I had my mind set right from the very start that I was not getting out of the car!

What surprised you the most about living in the Mirage?

Amber: I was most surprised by how many friends and family took the time out of their busy lives to come and visit me! Also, I strangely did not miss having my phone with me.

Dean: I think the most surprising thing was that this old guy was able to do it! I can’t believe I was able to do it. I think the other thing that surprised me was that the four of us got along as well as we did. We lucked out that there wasn’t a jerk between the four of us.

What was going through your head when you were trying the keys

Ryan: When I turned the key, I wasn’t expecting an engine to turn over! I was hamming it up and delaying the deal for a couple more seconds in the spotlight. I did not think I had the key. It was legit shock. I was beside myself. But in that moment as I turned the key, I was preparing to congratulate someone else.

Ryan, how have you been enjoying your Mirage?

Ryan: We took the Mirage for a little over a week, enjoyed the near insane fuel economy and then returned it to have the decals removed. I think next time a flag should be bolted to the roof as then perhaps 100% of the heads would turn when I drove by, instead of just 90%. We haven’t had it since as the busy life has taken over and we are trying to decide what’s the most practical way to use it for our family.

After Ryan won, were you expecting to walk away with a prize?

Amber: I was not expecting to win anything. After Ryan’s key started the engine and I was standing there with my last key I hadn’t tried yet, I felt absolutely deflated and thought for sure it was over. It was a great surprise! My brothers and I split the money between us. Theirs for tuition and I used my share to make an extra payment on my own vehicle.

Dean: When Ryan won the Mirage, I was very happy for him but we were all in it to win it so it was a little disappointing. But then they said, “Don’t leave yet!” and then I ended up winning [$1,500 Wyant Group gift card] which was such a shock. I get to suit up my wife’s SUV with new wheels for free.

Jenna: I am excited about my trip to Vegas. I have never been, and always have wanted to go! We still haven’t nailed down a date, but it will be sometime in April!

How was your first week at home?

Jenna: My first week at home was so hectic! I had to be to work on the Saturday, and the kiddos had school stuff to get ready. And I felt like I needed a million hours of sleep, and I honestly still feel like that!

Dean: Well right after we got out of the car we had to get back into a car and drive three hours to get to a wedding. But once I had a hot shower, a cold beer and a 10-hour sleep I felt better. I had a few aches and pains but nothing that lasted.

Do you miss anything about your week in the Mirage?

Jenna: I actually miss everyone from the car. I miss all the laughs we had. The stupid jokes that probably weren’t so funny, but all of us were so exhausted that we thought they were the funniest jokes ever! Getting to meet everyone’s family was awesome! All of the love and support that everyone received was unreal. It is definitely an experience that I will never forget and think about often!

Ryan: I miss nothing from that week. I appreciate it a lot, and I’d like to thank Dean, Jenna, Amber, all the family, friends, and the fans/followers for all the support and quality fellowship. But I don’t miss a damn thing.

Amber: I miss the company. It was so great to meet and get to know the other contestants in the car, as well as their friends and family. I also really enjoyed getting to know everyone from Cruz FM and Saskatoon Mitsubishi! This was a once in a lifetime experience and I will always be grateful that I was able to participate.

Dean: I miss lots of stuff. I like to call it ‘a fun week in hell’. It was very exciting to never know what was in store for us every day. I’m definitely going to miss Ryan, Jenna and Amber and the conversations we would have. They were always entertaining. Would I do it again? Absolutely.

Interviews have been edited for clarity, and length.