This year’s Hometown Showdown was supposed to be Garner’s for the taking.
After all, they had made it to the Final Four last year before losing to the eventual champions. And this year, Scotty McCreery endorsed the town’s picture on his social media accounts where he has millions of followers.
Inspired by March Madness, the Hometown Showdown is a 32-town bracket-style tournament, where a town submits a photo and the photo that’s gets the most likes on Facebook advances to the next round.
Many of McCreery’s fans retweeted his tweet and liked his post on Facebook. Some commented saying, “Just for you Scotty.”
So when Fuquay-Varina won, it was a bit surprising. How did Fuquay beat Garner?
Garner’s picture was of its beautiful Veteran’s Memorial at Lake Benson Park during sunset.
Fuquay’s photo was of its first post office built in 1902. Wow! Interesting.
Garner is home to a former American Idol winner and now famous country star, has a school that is currently state champions in basketball, and will be home to the state’s first Cabela’s on April 16.
Not to mention Garner has nearly 8,000 more residents than Fuquay-Varina.
However, Fuquay still beat – rather spanked is the correct term – Garner by hundreds of votes or “likes.” Garner lost 2,597 to 1,817.
A spokeswoman for Fuquay was tight lipped about their win.
“I cannot give away our secrets because we have to face Clayton next week,” Susan Weis said a few weeks ago.
But then last week, the N.C. League of Municipalities announced that Fuquay-Varina was one of “multiple” cities to have fraudulent votes.
“Unfortunately, these fake profiles (most originating from outside the US), spammers, and potential paid-likes have sullied the contest,” the post stated.
Ah ha! Got you Fuquay! So that’s how you did it? You got help from abroad.
Well...Wait a second.
Jessica Wells, a spokeswoman for the League, said after getting multiple inquiries about possible cheating, it appeared many of the likes on the site were spam. There were comments down below asking people to click on certain links, and many of those liking the photos were from outside the United States.
But that did not happen in the first round when Garner faced Fuquay-Varina, Wells said.
“For some reason the spam only seems to appear on the Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina photos during the most recent voting rounds,” she said.
But neither was disqualified from the competition. The two towns faced off in a special weekend round, and Fuquay won out.
In other words, when Garner and Fuquay faced off, it was likely fair and square.
So if you knew it was too good to be true that maybe Fuquay cheated and Garner should have won, it was.
And we’re still left wondering, just how did Fuquay do it?
They are now in the championship round of the competition.
That’s March Madness for you, minus the basketball. Thank God April is here.