Jenny McCarthy crowns winner in Chrysler's hat contest

Last time we checked on Chrysler's hat design contest, three finalists were headed to Kentucky to watch the Derby and have their creations judged. Friday, Chrysler named the winner, Nina Rosenberg of Prospect, Ky., who created her winning entry almost entirely from the same fabric used in the top of Chrysler's Sebring.

For her creativity, Rosenberg got to drive home in a new drop-top Sebring (apparently with a new key design from Chrysler) and a big ole hug from Jenny McCarthy. Now don't you wish you'd entered?

Those still interested, (in the hats, not Jenny) can read Chrysler's full press release after the jump.

Actress and Author Jenny McCarthy Hands Keys of New Convertible to Winner of National Hat Design Competition

The "Chrysler Sebring Hats Off to the Derby" national hat design contest "with a twist" culminated today at Churchill Downs as actress and New York Times best selling author, Jenny McCarthy, handed keys to an all-new 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible to the grand prize winner – Nina Rosenberg of Prospect, Ky.

Rosenberg was one of three finalists who won a special VIP weekend at the Kentucky Derby in the contest that drew hundreds of original hat design sketches from across the country. In addition to receiving tickets to the 133rd Kentucky Derby, the finalists will join McCarthy, Friday evening, on the red carpet at the star-studded celebrity Barnstable-Brown Charity Gala benefiting diabetes research, and will receive a VIP tour of Churchill Downs tomorrow before the races.

The Chrysler brand launched the "Hats Off to the Derby" contest in January, in honor of the long-standing tradition of fans sporting fashionable hats at the Derby and the debut of the all-new 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible – with its equally stylish removable top. The contest was open to aspiring fashion designers, horse race enthusiasts, car aficionados and all those interested in designing a hat with a twist. Entrants were required to submit a sketch of an original hat design that captured the essence of the new Chrysler Sebring Convertible and the sophistication of the Kentucky Derby, and incorporated a portion of convertible top fabric somewhere in the design. Additionally, the hats needed to be suitable for wearing while driving in a convertible and for wearing at the Kentucky Derby.

Rosenberg was named the grand prize winner for her unique Kentucky Derby hat that was made almost entirely from the convertible soft top material.

"Nina did a great job incorporating the convertible top fabric into her hat design by actually weaving the fabric into the suede and other materials of the hat. Her craftsmanship was top notch," said Susan Thomson, Senior Manager –Chrysler Global Brand Communications. "We had a difficult decision choosing among our top three hats – each entry was unique and well done. We thank all of the contestants for their time and energy."

The other "Hats Off to the Derby" finalists were:

* Tanya Law, Charleston, W. Va., who incorporated black striping and trim made from the convertible top fabric on her white straw hat
* Cynthia Lundeen, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, who adorned her large lightweight scoop hat with an "S" made from the fabric

Contest Overview
The "Chrysler Sebring Hats Off to the Derby" contest began with nearly 300 entrants submitting sketches of original hat designs and essays describing how the Sebring Convertible inspired their design. A panel of judges narrowed the field to 15 and then the public had the opportunity to vote online at the contest Web site – Public votes, combined with judges' scores, determined the five semifinalists who were given seed money and convertible top fabric to construct their hats in about two weeks. The finished hats were judged again on the originality and styling of the actual hat, the functionality of the hat while driving in a convertible and the appropriateness of the hat for the Kentucky Derby, with the top three vote getters being deemed finalists and winning trips to the Derby.

About the 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible
The all-new 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible, arriving in showrooms now, offers a sleek and elegant design, exhilarating performance with excellent fuel efficiency and a spacious interior. The Sebring Convertible also offers what no other convertible has offered before - three automatically latching convertible top options: vinyl, cloth and a body-color painted steel hard top, all of which can be retracted with a push of a button on the key fob.

The Chrysler Sebring Convertible has long held the honor of America's favorite convertible, solidly leading the segment for the past decade. In fact, Sebring Convertible has earned the title of best-selling convertible in the United States for seven of the past 11 years. The 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible is poised to be in the winners circle when it becomes available in U.S. dealerships in the second quarter of 2007 and in global volume markets in the second half of 2007.

About Jenny McCarthy
With her unique combination of comedic talent and appeal, Jenny McCarthy has proven herself time and again as a film and television actress, comedienne, host, author and spokesperson. Her comedic take on pregnancy and childbirth, Belly Laughs, was released in spring 2004 and earned a spot on the prestigious New York Times Bestseller List. A follow-up, Baby Laughs, published in spring 2005, also made the New York Times list. A third book in this successful series, Life Laughs, released a year later in spring 2006. Jenny is currently working on another book anticipated for release in fall 2007.

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