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Wheels of fortune favor Medford woman

Wins 2001 Jeep Wrangler in annual Les Schwab promotion

As 43-year-old Kate Harter pulled into the Medford Les Schwab Tire Store Tuesday morning, she couldn't help but smile.

Months earlier, she had pulled into the same parking lot to have studded tires put on her ailing 1988 GMC Jimmy for the winter.

Tuesday she pulled in to pick up a brand new 2001 Jeep Wrangler.

Though she vaguely remembers filling out the entry form that won her the canary yellow Jeep, she will not likely forget driving it home.

"You don't fill something like that out and think you're actually going to win," said the Medford resident.

Harter said that when the call came saying her entry had been chosen from those submitted by 60 stores in the district, she was in "complete and total shock."

"At first I thought they were playing a joke on me or something. People don't just go and win a new car out of the blue like that. Everyone's telling me I should go buy a lottery ticket, but I wouldn't even know how to."

Brian Capp, director of sales and marketing for Les Schwab's southern district, said Harter's entry was picked from more than 120,000 entered in the "Cruising the West" annual promotion.

Harter is the first ever Medford winner.

Harter said while winning is not something she's accustomed to, her new Jeep suits her personality.

"It's funny I would win a car like that. I'm a real outdoorsy person and I love to travel and drive all over."

While friends and family commented all day on what "great luck" Harter had, she insisted it was more than luck.

"I had been looking at cars and praying about finding a good deal and it kind of came to me to stop fixing the old one. Then I won this brand new Jeep. ... God sure looks out for people in funny ways sometimes, doesn't he?

"It was kind of God's provision," said Harter, whose coffee stand went out of business two years ago.

Still in disbelief, Harter said she hadn't decided whether to keep both vehicles long-term.

"I'm trying to decide what the right thing is that I should be doing - if I should keep it for myself or help someone in need. My mind says to keep the old one and give it away," she said.

"It would be kind of neat to bless somebody else's socks off. I just don't know at this point. ... I guess for right now I'm just trying to think of a name for it."

Wheels of fortune favor Medford woman