James Island man scores dream trip to Super Bowl

Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers fan Matt McChesney (right) won a trip to Texas and tickets to Sunday's Super Bowl and will share the experience with his brother, Will.

Matt McChesney just wanted some free samples.

He ended up with an all-expenses paid trip to Super Bowl XLV.

"It's a dream come true," said the James Island resident, a lifelong Steelers fan who will get to see his favorite team battle the Green Bay Packers on Sunday evening.

McChesney, 32, won his Super Bowl bonanza through a contest sponsored by Head and Shoulders and featuring Pittsburgh star Troy Polamalu, he of the flowing locks insured for $1 million. Top prize in the "Polamalooza" contest included two Super Bowl tickets, round-trip airfare, hotel and transportation.

It's a prize package worth -- well, for McChesney, it's priceless.

"I was born on Super Bowl Sunday in 1979, when the Steelers played the Cowboys," said McChesney, who works for Resort Quest on Kiawah Island. "The joke in my family is that my dad had to decide between watching the Steelers in the Super Bowl, or cutting the umbilical cord. My grandfather played football in the Pittsburgh area. We are lifelong Steeler fans, so this is a big deal."

McChesney saw Polamalu's TV commercials for Head and Shoulders hair care products, advertising the "Polamalooza" contest. He decided to go online and enter.

"To be honest, I just signed up for the free samples," he said.

About two months later, in mid-January, McChesney was at work when he received a "You are a winner" e-mail from Head and Shoulders.

"I deleted it without opening it," he said. "I get those all the time."

But later in the day, he got a phone call from someone at Head and Shoulders.

"She said, 'Did you get our e-mail?' " McChesney said. "I told her I had deleted it. She said, 'Well, you better un-delete it.' "

McChesney's haul -- two Super Bowl tickets, round-trip airfare for two, hotel room and transportation, tickets to the Madden Bowl on Thursday night, tickets to CMT's Crossroads concert featuring Faith Hill and the Pretenders and tickets to the NFL's tailgate party before the game.

The really hard part was deciding who would get that second ticket.

"I sure had a bunch of new friends all of the sudden," McChesney said. "Everybody knew I had that second ticket."

McChesney quickly narrowed the field down a to a final three -- his girlfriend, his father and his younger brother, Will.

"My dad lives near Pittsburgh," he said. "And I was never 100 percent sure this was real. I would have hated to have him come down here and spend money, and then find out we weren't going anywhere."

That left the girlfriend and the brother. In the end, family ties were too strong to ignore.

"That was a tough one," he said. "I decided to take my little brother, and that didn't go over too well with her. But I wanted to keep it in the family. Years from now, we'll have something to look back on."

The McChesney brothers leave Thursday for their Super Bowl trip of a lifetime.

"It's going to be monumental," Matt said. "Words can't even describe it. I'm still in shock. When I'm on that plane, then I think I will realize that we are actually going to the Super Bowl."