Team wins cruise by visiting 53 Dirt Cheap stores

Published 6:29 am Sunday, March 17, 2013

A trio of local bargain hunters dubbed the “Dirt Cheap Queens” has won a five-day Carnival cruise through the retailer’s Road Trip Scavenger Hunt competition.

Thomas natives and friends since elementary school, Tonya Steadman, Sharon Beckett and Sharon Jan Hartzog visited more Dirt Cheap locations during the month of February than any other team in the contest.

Decked out in their signature pink shirts and hats, the winners collected their Carnival gift cards of $600 apiece Wednesday at the Franklinton Dirt Cheap location.

Hartzog said contest participants were required, at each store visited, to look for a chicken with a number printed on its belly. They had to take a picture standing beside the chicken and document each visit by using a special phone ap.

Working over three weekends — six Fridays and Saturdays in all — the Dirt Cheap Queens stopped in at 53 locations in the three-state area of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The furthest they traveled was the store in Huntsville, Ala. In all, they covered about 3,000 miles.

“The good Lord was watching over us because we never had a wreck, never had a flat, never had an issue. He protected us,” Beckett said.

The road trip, Beckett said, was a blast. The first stop, on Feb. 1, was the Bogalusa Dirt Cheap, and the last, on Feb. 16, was the Baton Rouge store.

The three regularly meet up at the Franklinton Dirt Cheap to search for deals, and Hartzog is the one who spotted the competition on Facebook.

“We love shopping at Dirt Cheap and we like a good challenge and good adventure,” Hartzog said about the team’s motivation to enter.

All three team members work, so they had to coordinate their days off, Hartzog said. They drew their route out on a map, planning the adventure at Maria’s Mexican Restaurant in Bogalusa.

The details of the Dirt Cheap Queen’s cruise haven’t been worked out yet, but Hartzog said they will be taking the trip sometime after May. And they will be wearing their hats.

District Manager Barbara Markey was impressed by the trio’s dedication.

“I think it’s awesome,” she said. “I can’t believe they did all those stores. They are Dirt Cheap diehards.”

The company is planning to hold the contest again next year, and the team intends to enter.