When I was writing Big Boy 2021 and A Trip To London, I mentioned I'd received a surprise message from the official Union Pacific Railroad Instagram account. I think it's time to finally fully acknowledge just what that entailed!
Earlier this year, when UP was just announcing the Big Boy 2021 tour, they added a little note in their email that said this:
We LOVE seeing your photos of our steam locomotives, and during the 2021 tour, we're going to be giving away Big Boy T-shirts to people who post the best photos during the tour to their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds using the #BigBoy2021 hashtag! Make sure the permissions on your posts are public so we can see them, and watch your DMs on each platform to see if your photo has been selected as a winner!
So, naturally, I did tag my photos with that hashtag, really just expecting a little extra traffic on them. I did not, however, expect to actually be one of those winners.
I got the message from UP as I was coming out of the Drumsheds in London, after having just seen the most insane show of my life. I still remember looking down at my phone and seeing the notification saying "uprr" had sent me a message. As we stood at a bus stop waiting for the bus to show up that we'd have to flag down, I just turned to Tal and said, "Why the hell did an actual railroad just message me on Instagram?"
I'd learn the answer at our Airbnb an hour later. I think everyone in the room was just as surprised as I was - this is not something you see every day! Especially considering I had just my small little 200-ish follower IG account, I wasn't expecting to attract the attention of an actual Class 1 railroad.
This was the message itself, by the way:
So, naturally, I said yes, and gave the relevant info. I also offered to send them the full sized original photo without a watermark if they wanted it, but I never heard back on that front. So, as a result, I don't actually know which photo it was that won.
My bet? Probably Get Your Kicks. It was my most successful shot by far on Instagram, so it only makes sense. However, Charger and True Faith might well be candidates, and I could buy Turn My Way also being the one. I know for sure it isn't Fall Into Parallel, but honestly any of them are believable, but Get Your Kicks more so than any other.
So, after having sent that, it was just a matter of waiting. Would it actually happen? You never know, I almost didn't expect something to show up at all honestly.
But lo and behold, a few days after coming home from the Milwaukee Road 261, there was a package stuffed in the mailbox!
What do you know? They really did send me a shirt! I didn't know what to expect design wise, but it turned out pretty neat.
Initially I just thought, oh, neat, a simpe Big Boy graphic, but then I flipped it over...
It's like a band tour t-shirt! I just thought that was too neat. Tasteful and just a cool little piece, and definitely a nice little bonus memento from the trip! It's also a really quality t-shirt, pretty comfy and the printing feels pretty good too. I think this'll last a bit longer than most screen printed shirts will, anyways.
Anyway, that was just a really fun little bonus I was not expecting at all when I embarked on that week long journey from Little Rock to Kansas City. I thought it was well worth highlighting here on its own rather than in the middle of the London or Big Boy 2021 posts.
Anyway, that's all I have for this one. Thanks to Union Pacific for choosing my photo as a winner and sending the shirt - it's really appreciated!
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