Seventeen-year-old Austin Wierschke from Rhinelander, Wis. — a high school senior who can type up to six characters in just one second — won $50,000 for the second year in a row at the sixth annual texting event LG U.S. Texting Championship held on Wednesday in New York City.
Standing on a stage in the middle of Times Square, Wierschke beat out 10 other finalists, who competed in a series of rounds using a LG Optimus Zip QWERTY keyboard smartphone. The preliminaries started several months ago when the competition had about 100,000 contestants.
Finalists ranging in age from 16 to 24 were tested on three skills: speed, accuracy and dexterity. Challenges included spelling out texting abbreviations as quickly as possible and completing texting tasks while blindfolded. In one round, competitors had to text with the device behind their backs.