You can win a café in Eastern Oregon by entering Ma & Pa’s Café Essay Contest. Really! It’s a diner located in Imbler, Oregon, about 12 miles northeast of La Grande. All you have to do is submit a 500-word essay and $150 entry fee by August 1st, and you have a chance to win the café and $50,000 in start-up cash.
It’s a prototypical old-school diner in a tiny agricultural town (Imbler only has about 380 people); check out their pictures. Not only would you have to have a burning desire to run such a place, but you’d also have to commit to living in rural northeast Oregon (largest cities are Pendleten and La Grande, at about 16,000 and 13,000, repsectively). It’s certainly an intruiging notion, I’d be tempted to enter just to see, though I think that’d be a tough sell to my family
Still, I notice that there’s no obligation or limit to what the winner can do with the place, and there also appears to be a scarcity of microbreweries in eastern Oregon… that would be an interesting thought.
Bend.com has a write-up on this, too, with a detailed interview of the couple “selling” the café.