Saturn holds car jockey contest

Ben Watts from the Park Hyatt hotel was named Toronto’s top valet last week.


Ben Watts from the Park Hyatt hotel was crowned Toronto’s top valet last week, after winning the Saturn Valet Challenge, a skills competition for those you entrust your car to at many of the city’s top hotels and restaurants.

Valet parkers at such establishments are faced these days with the most challenging and stressful time of the year. Jam-packed parking lots, unpredictable weather, impatient clients and intense pressure to impress are just a few of the challenges confronting the city’s best valets in the holiday weeks ahead.

That’s why the car company decided to hold its ultimate challenge, in which participants from seven leading Toronto establishments were asked to complete the Saturn Shuffle, Swerve, Stack ‘em and Pack ‘em, and Squeeze for the ultimate bragging rights as Toronto’s top valet.

The uniformed valets competed in the timed, high-pressure skills competition in a variety of vehicles including a sporty two-seat roadster, a family sedan and a spacious ‘crossover’ vehicle.

The Shuffle involved moving obstacles to free up the race vehicle. The Swerve took participants through a tight slalom course, while the Stack ‘em and Pack ‘em called for them to load packages into a vehicle. The Squeeze called for each valet to execute a tight parallel park manoeuvre.

The winner, Watts completed the 4-stage event in one minute 41 seconds, edging runner-up Dimitri Petropoulos of Northern Valet Services, representing Splendido Restaurant, by a slim seven seconds. Northern Valet Services’ Matthew Hiez, representing Centro Restaurant, finished third in one minute 51 seconds.

Also competing were Adem Abdurahman from the Sheraton Centre, Amir Naje of the Westin Harbour Castle, Carlos Grisales (Sheraton Centre) and Matthew Hogg (Cosmopolitan) who finished in a tie, and Jose Bula from the Pantages hotel.

Besides getting bragging rights as Toronto’s best valet, Ben Watts also won the use of a new Saturn Aura sedan for a week.

The other big winner was Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada, which received a donation from Saturn Canada on behalf of all the contestants.

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