2009 Mini Cooper S Convertible (above), Openometer (inset) – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ever wonder what possible use the Openometer could have? The tiny dashboard gauge is found only in the Mini convertible and tracks the number of hours a Mini motorist has been driving with the top down. Cute, sure, but hardly as useful as, say... a speedometer or fuel gauge. Well, David Loveall and over 400 other Mini Cooper Convertible owners across America found the Openometer very useful as they participated in the Open One Challenge.

Kansas City's Loveall logged some 555.55 hours of top-down driving in his Mini, after driving across the country and visiting every one of the 48 contiguous states in the union. He took some of America's greatest back-roads, like Route 66 and US 50, avoiding the freeway at all costs and often camping roadside in a tent.

For his dedication to the open-air cause, Loveall is being awarded with a free trip to England to visit the Mini factory in Oxford. That's on top of the $1,000 in gift cards he got after finishing first in four out of five of the monthly contests and third in the fifth. Not too shabby, David. Follow the jump for the full press release, click here to visit the contest website and check out our gallery of high-res images from our review of the Mini Cooper S Convertible – in Interchange Yellow just like Loveall's – by clicking the thumbnails below.

[Source: BMW]
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MINI USA Crowns Winner of Open One Challenge
  • MINI Owner, David Loveall of Kansas City, Missouri is crowned the "Open One" after 555.55 hours of top-down motoring
  • Loveall to accept grand prize at Baron MINI dealership on February 4
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – February 3, 2010... After five months of motoring in his MINI Cooper Convertible with the top down as part of MINI USA's Open One Challenge, David Loveall has proven that neither rain, snow nor blistering sunshine can deter his 'open' spirit. Loveall is the grand prize winner in MINI's Open One Challenge, a contest to determine who could accumulate the most top-down motoring hours.

Enduring every type of weather Mother Nature could throw at him between August and December 2009, Loveall motored for 555.55 hours with his MINI Cooper Convertible's top wide open. To reward Loveall's dedication to sharing MINI's open philosophy, MINI will present him with a trip for two people to travel to Oxford, England and a visit to the MINI plant where the MINI Cooper Convertible is built.

"Owners like David are what make the MINI brand great," said Jim McDowell, Vice President, MINI USA. "The fact that he won this contest with 128 hours more than the runner up is a testament to his enthusiasm for his MINI, and is a great representation of the community that surrounds the brand."

In addition to the grand prize, Loveall also took home $1,000 in gift cards by placing in the top three rankings all five months of the contest (1st place four times, and 3rd place one time).

As a digital forensic examiner, Loveall travels a great deal. He used the Open One Challenge as an opportunity to see the country and experience his new MINI in a whole new way. During his five-month motoring tour, Loveall and his Interchange Yellow MINI Cooper Convertible visited each of the 48 continental states, shying away from mega freeways and focusing on the classic roads of our motoring forefathers... like Route 66 and his notable favorite, US 50, widely considered the loneliest road in America. Not only did David drive these roads he lived them, often camping with his tent and sleeping bag along the way.

"I took on the challenge for the story I'd get to tell," said Loveall. "My MINI Cooper Convertible is the first car I have ever bought, and the experiences I have had within the first year of owning it have been amazing."

There were over 400 MINI owners who registered on the Open One Challenge website. The monthly tallies for participants were measured to the minute with the MINI Convertible's newest instrument, the Openometer. It is devices such as the Openometer that enable MINI to connect with the owner community, and offer more than just a vehicle to get from point A to point B. Commitment to customers and making them feel like they are truly part of the MINI family is a priority for MINI.

MINI customers who entered the contest were asked to personalize a profile page with photos of their Open Motoring experience. Photos of all the participants' journeys, along with the final monthly and overall rankings can be found at http://www.theopenone.com/home. Loveall's profile can be found at http://theopenone.com/profile/view/davel137.

MINI representatives will present Loveall with the grand prize at Baron MINI (9000 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Merriam, Kansas) at 10 AM on February 4. Media are welcome.

MINI in the US
MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC which has been present in the United States since 1975. Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group's global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car centers, 335 BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 142 BMW motorcycle retailers, 90 MINI passenger car dealers, and 30 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group's sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

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