New DF-J Bracket Buster contest begins

A new online NCAA basketball contest, Bracket Buster, could mean big prizes for participants, depending how well they can choose the winners for the upcoming Division I Men’s NCAA Tournament.

The contest, a joint effort by The Daily Freeman-Journal and The Messenger, is now live and open. Participants can go online and click the link at and then register with a username and password, name, address and other information. Daily Freeman-Journal Advertising Manager Cory Bargfrede said the contest would get rolling after Selection Sunday on March 17.

“This is a pick-em contest. You can use your computer, tablet or smart phone to play. This is really great for people on the go. They make changes to their picks right up until the game starts,” he said.

Bargfrede said the contest will go round by round. “Pick the games and try to get as many right as possible,” he said.

The contest website will also have local leader board to show how local players fair against others in the area. The site also features a message board where participants can post comments.

At the end of each round, local prizes will be awarded from the participating sponsors, consisting of gift cards or merchandise up to $25 in value. The grand prize is airfare from Fort Dodge to Minneapolis, two-night stay and the winner’s choice of two tickets to see a Timberwolves or Twins game, according to Bargfrede.

Each of participating businesses has opportunity to feature the owner or an employee as a VIP picker.

“So you can see how well you can do against Burke Risetter of the Grid Iron or Joe Connell from Hy-Vee, or one of the other VIPs,” he said.

Troy Banning, sports editor, will be the VIP picker for the Daily Freeman-Journal.

“This is your chance, the reader, to prove that you know more about college basketball than me,” Banning said. “I’ve never been particularly good when it comes to filling out a bracket, but I’m up for the challenge.”

“Bring it on,” he said.