COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Every year, White Castle recognizes its most dedicated fans, fondly known as "Craver Nation," through the annual Cravers Hall of Fame contest. The 2012 Cravers Hall of Fame class includes 11 loyal fans from seven different states.
A panel of judges narrowed 735 entries down to the top 36 stories. The judges used a point system and set criteria to evaluate each story based on the following: brand loyalty, creative presentation, originality and magnitude of "the crave."
The Cravers Hall of Fame induction is scheduled for Thursday, October 25. The Class of 2012 will be flown to Columbus for a 2 p.m. ceremony at the White Castle home office. A reception and dinner will follow the ceremony at 6 p.m. at the Ohio Historical Society.
"White Castle is fortunate to have such dedicated customers who go to extreme lengths to fulfill their craving for Sliders," said Jamie Richardson, vice president of White Castle. "Many of our Cravers have grown up with our brand and have incorporated it into their lives, whether it's coming to our annual Valentine's Day dinner, sneaking Crave Cases into a wedding reception or just simply passing the love of Sliders from one generation to the next."
The Cravers Hall of Fame was founded in 2001. Since then, 9,545 people have applied for inclusion, but only 80 lucky Cravers have been inducted into this prestigious club of die-hard fans. The number of Hall of Famers increases to 91 this year, with the following inductees:
- Bruce Boyd, Cape Coral, FL – "Sliders for Christmas" – For Bruce, trips to White Castle were a fun part of growing up in Minneapolis. One year, Bruce and his brothers decided to give their dad 100 Sliders for Christmas through the now no longer available "Hamburgers to Fly" program, which Bruce read about in the local newspaper. Bruce recalls how his dad knew it was a box of his favorite food - Sliders - even before unwrapping the gift. Bruce and his brothers made their dad's Christmas that year, and a great holiday memory.
- Jessica and Josh Isham, Rockford, IL – "Undeniable Love" – Jessica realized that she wouldn't be able to spend Valentine's Day at White Castle following her husband's job transfer to Bozeman, Montana. After realizing neither had to work on February 14 and 15, the couple made a 26-hour trip to Chicago to celebrate the most romantic day of the year at their favorite place, White Castle.
- Ron Joy and Ralph Perricelli, New City, NY – "A Marathon Craving" – Ron and Ralph ran the 2010 NYC Marathon in memory of their friend and New York City fireman Vinny Giammona who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Vinny introduced Ron to White Castle, so, at mile 18, Ron and Ralph stopped at White Castle for two sacks of Sliders and shared them with friends in honor of Vinny. Ron and Ralph finished the race and raised $13,000 for a September 11 memorial scholarship.
- Harrison Krat, Burlingame, CA – "Lifelong Impact" – Just about every significant event in Harrison's life is connected to White Castle. Harrison grew up in New York and associates White Castle with his grandmother and her storytelling. His first date with his wife was spent watching "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle." Now that Harrison lives in northern California, he gets his Sliders from the frozen food section of this local supermarket, but he plans all of his trips to the east coast and Midwest within driving distance of a White Castle restaurant. He even took his coworkers from California on a late night run to White Castle when they visited Nashville for training.
- Rueben Lillie, Chicago, IL – "A Reason to Celebrate" – Growing up in Pennsylvania, Rueben and his two best friends in high school had never visited a White Castle. Although they didn't know what they were missing, the trio made a pact that they would share their first White Castle experience together. Even after going to college just south of Chicago, he kept his word. When Rueben met his wife, a confirmed Craver from Chicago, he maintained the pact with his buddies. Rueben officially joined Craver Nation with his high school friends before he was married. He's continued to incorporate Sliders into many celebrations through the years.
- Thomas Sticha, Norridge, IL – "Satisfying 50 Years of Craving" – During the '60s, Thomas had a paper route at the same time a new White Castle was being built. To promote the grand opening, there was a coupon in the newspaper Thomas delivered. With his dad's permission, the family cut out the White Castle coupon of every paper, 75 in all. For two weeks, his family of 10 ate more than 500 Sliders. To this day, Thomas eats at the same White Castle once a month and has done so for 50 years.
- Turk Vangel, Huntington Beach, CA – "Pin-up Girls, Sliders and Tattoos" – Turk got the Crave when he was introduced to White Castle at six years old. While living in Phoenix, Turk bought frozen Sliders to satisfy his crave. On one package, he noticed a coupon on the box with a pin-up girl. He kept the coupon in his wallet for many years. In 2010, a tattoo artist recreated the pin-up girl and Slider from the coupon and tattooed it on Turk's arm.
- Jim Work, Millington, MI – "Sliders by Helicopter" - Jim's co-worker and White Castle fanatic, Larry Brennen, moved to Arizona to take a new job. When Larry returned to Michigan for a visit, Jim and his team surprised Larry by borrowing a White Castle team member uniform and using a helicopter to deliver Sliders to an outdoor picnic.
- Stu Gonzales, Omaha, NE – "Mission Accomplished" – One day Stu had a vision to pursue his passion in life, one slider at a time. Living in Omaha, Nebraska and never experiencing a freshly grilled Slider, Stu decided to make it his ultimate mission to eat at every White Castle restaurant. So, in August 2010, Stu began his trek across the nation, with his Harold and Kumar lunchbox in hand, to eat at his first White Castle restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. Within two years, Stu embarked on 15 cross-country expeditions, drove more than 10,000 highway miles, downed hundreds of Sliders and fries, conquered 420 White Castle restaurants, and emerged victorious!
"Loyalty is a key attribute of our team members and Cravers, and we strive every day to recognize their loyalty to White Castle," Richardson said. "The Cravers Hall of Fame is a chance for White Castle to honor customers who have gone to extremes to satisfy the Crave and recognize them for their devotion to our one-of-a-kind taste."
About White Castle
White Castle is a family-owned business based in Columbus, Ohio that owns and operates more than 400 restaurants in 12 states. The company was founded in Wichita, Kansas in 1921 and is America's first fast-food hamburger chain. All White Castle Sliders are made from 100-percent USDA inspected beef. White Castle's new loyalty program, Craver Nation, launched in May. For more information on White Castle and Craver Nation, visit www.whitecastle.com and www.cravernation.whitecastle.com.
SOURCE White Castle