By Anna Sekula Posted February 4, 2011, 10:32 AM EST
NEW YORK On the evening of January 25, the biggest problem for the folks behind LG's second annual World Cup competition wasn't the incoming blizzard, but rather an unexpected power outage. The Korean mobile phone company's international texting contest was slated to begin at 1 p.m. the following day, and the loss of electricity at Gotham Hall occurred just as producer Barkley Kalpak Associates and its crew of vendors were preparing for the event's tech rehearsal at 5:45 p.m. With the need for a substantial amount of uninterrupted electricity to feed moving lights, multiple projections and cameras, video, and sound, the team moved quickly to find a supply.
Working overnight, the venue's staff located a truck with a generator, and lighting supplier Bentley Meeker brought in extra hands to rerun the power distribution to all corners of the ballroom-style space. By 2 a.m., everything was up and running; the producers returned at 6 a.m. to begin writing lighting cues and started rehearsals at 8 a.m. The rest of the event went off without a hitch despite the interruption. Barkley Kalpak credits the timely resolution to the patience and composure of all parties involved.
Much like last year, the competition pitted 26 fast-fingered entrants against each other in a game-show-style setting, with two hosts. The finalists, from an array of different countries, competed from behind lecterns on a tiered stage, while an audience of friends and family applauded loudly with inflatable noisemakers. Once again, LG used a word-based action gaming system provided by Electronic Arts Mobile to test the speed and accuracy of the players.
Cristina Sales Ancines and Jennifer Sales Ancines, sisters from Panama, emerged as the winners of the Mobile World Cup, winning $100,000. In a separate contest during the event, Australia's Cheong Kit Au broke the Guinness world record for fastest texting on a qwerty phone, typing a 264-character phrase in 1 minute and 17 seconds.