Annie Shellberg is crazy for bicycle racer Lance Armstrong. So crazy, the postmaster of the tiny Rillito Post Office is single-handedly putting on Arizona's only postal promotion as Armstrong's United States Postal Service team peddles for gold in the world's biggest bike race, the Tour de France.
"I'm a Lance Armstrong freak. I just love Lance," Shellberg admits. Although not a cyclist herself, she persuaded higher-ups in the postal service that the three-week promotion was a good thing.
Between July 5 and July 27, while the international team covers 2,500 miles of the French countryside on this, the 100th anniversary of the Tour, Shellberg's customers have a chance to win U.S.P.S. teddy bears, souvenir cachet envelopes and first-issue Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny stamp collections, water bottles and Koozie cooler cups; a cooler packed with good "stuff" for guessing Armstrong's final time; plus two scooters with kneepads and helmets in a coloring contest for kids.
Armstrong, who earned international fame with four consecutive Tour de France wins despite a 1996 battle with advanced testicular cancer, leads the nine-member U.S.P.S. Pro Cycling Team on the Tour.
"Lance came on the team after he'd been sick and no one else wanted him, even though he was cured and ready to race," said Shellberg. "The Postal Service picked him up when no one else would." Now, when Armstrong pitches products for commercial endorsements, he wears the jersey of the U.S. Postal Service.
This is not the first of Postmaster Shellberg's special giveaways. She bakes cookies for customers for two weeks during the Christmas season, sponsors Easter coloring contests and hosts "snack" days and "special surprise" days featuring chips and candies. Her husband Pete put up the money for the two scooters being given away in the Tour kid's coloring contest this month.
"I want this to be the most fun post office in the Tucson metro area," Shellberg said in a recent phone interview. "There's always something going on here."
From 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m (closed noon to 1 p.m.), Monday through Friday up to July 25, customers can come by the post office, 11651 N. Casa Grande Highway, and sign the Tour poster, which the postmaster will be sending to the team as soon as the race is over. Details for the three Tour contests are:
Daily random drawing: Three prizes every day for 45 winners through July 25. One free ticket for any post office customer or box holder; one ticket per day for any customer who spends $7.40 (the price of a book of stamps) or more. All entries must be made in person. One prize per person for the entire promotion. Must provide adequate contact information. Must be 18 or older. First customer of the day will draw the winning tickets for that day.
Guess Lance Armstrong's final time: Entries must be made in person. Entry deadline has been extended from July 11 to July 18. The winner predicting the closest time (how long it will take Armstrong to finish) will be selected July 28. Must be 18 to enter. Time must be in minutes: seconds: tenth of seconds. If more than one person has the winning time, a random drawing will determine the winner.
Children's coloring contest: Must be a child's original work depicting "a guy on a bike with the U.S.P.S. team name." Entries must be received by the Rillito Post Office by July 18. Must be 17 or under to enter.
For more information call the post office at 682-3706.