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Mark and Kalen Eirich, of Sheboygan, WI, were in disbelief when they first found out they were the winners of the 2011 Gander Mountain Sweepstakes.

“We thought there had to be a catch,” said Kalen after hearing the voicemail that she and he husband had won the sweepstakes.

Sure enough there was no catch, and the couple began their journey Monday to Greenville, SC, global headquarters of Perception Kayaks. The prize package includes two Perception kayaks of their choice, two Harmony paddles, PFDs, and paddle floats, along with a spray skirt, bilge pump, and Perception apparel.

Upon arrival, the couple were given a tour of the Confluence Watersports facility where Perception and many of there famous paddle sports family brands are manufactured. They saw where the boats are molded, constructed, and assembled. After the tour, the couple began building their kayaks and found the process to be quite intriguing.

“It was cool to be apart of the process in helping make our boats,” said Kalen about her morning in the warehouse.

Kalen chose green and white Perception Prodigy 12, and Mark chose a red, yellow, and orange marble Perception Search 13 Angler. Both kayaks had customized fishing rod holders in specific places and rather than black bungee cords, Kalen chose a beautiful silver to compliment the green and white finish of her boat.

“It’s been an awesome experience here,” said Kalen about the shop floor and being hands on with the design process. “Everyone is so nice and informative. You can tell they all take pride in what they are doing.”

An afternoon in Clemson, SC at Lake Hartwell followed Mark and Kalen’s busy morning. At the lake they will receive paddling and safety instruction from Steve Sherrer, an ACA Level 5 Instructor, and his wife Cindy Sherrer.

The couple will be staying in South Carolina until Wednesday, Aug. 31, so more will be coming about Mark and Kalen’s visit!

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