Sweet Home girl, who is autistic, wins instrument signed by stars

Scott Swanson

Of The New Era

When the phone rang at about 7:40 on the Monday morning following the Oregon Jamboree, Velma Canfield, of Sweet Home, answered.

It was a man.

“Is Brandi there?”

Brandi, Canfield’s 17-year-old daughter, is autistic.

“I thought, ‘Who the heck is this calling?'” Canfield said.

It was Scott Schuler from KRKT Radio’s Scott and Angie Show. That’s when things clicked for Canfield.

“Did Brandi win the guitar?” she asked.

Yes, she did.

Brandi was the winner of the radio station’s annual contest that awards the winner a guitar signed by the Jamboree’s top headliners.

In the contest, KRKT handed out large round stickers with numbers on them to festival-goers. The challenge for contestants, who stuck the numbers to their clothing, was to find another Jamboree attendee who had the matching number, then go to the KRKT booth where both contestants would be entered in a drawing for the guitar.

Things weren’t going well for Brandi early on in the game, even though she had stickers with three different numbers, her mother said.

Brandi’s brother Billy, 14, with whom she has an active sibling rivalry, and her cousin Stephanie had been the only two to find their matches out of a group of some 25 friends who attended the Jamboree together.

“I got mad because I couldn’t find matches,” Brandi said.

Then they ran into Brandi’s former sixth-grade teacher, Mike Long, and his wife Jane. As they were talking with the Longs, Brandi looked at Jane Long’s sticker.

“I freaked out because his wife had my number,” she said.

Velma Canfield said she had to explain to the Longs what the commotion was all about, since it was their first time at the Jamboree.

“Mike’s wife was looking at me like ‘What’s she talking about?'” said Canfield, who teaches special education at Foster School.

Brandi was the last in their group to find a match for her number, she said.

“She was very determined to find a match,” Canfield said. “She would have gotten 100 numbers if that’s what it took. It was the first time in five years (of playing the KRKT game) that she has gotten a match.”

When Schuler called from the radio station, he told Canfield he wanted to try to have some fun with her. Canfield said she didn’t tell the deejay about Brandi’s condition.

“I said, ‘Hey Brandi, phone’s for you,'” Canfield said, “and I handed Brandi the phone.

“He goes, ‘Hello, did you lose your student body card at the Oregon Jamboree this weekend?’

“She goes, ‘Mom…’

“He says, ‘We found your student body card at the Jamboree this weekend.’

“She says, ‘I didn’t take it to the Jamboree.’

“He says, ‘I’m Scott from KRKT and you won the guitar!’

“She let out a yell and told her brother, ‘Ha, I told you.'”

“Mom said I won, not Billy,” Brandi chimed in. “Billy said, ‘You can’t play it.’ But Scott said, ‘I don’t think you want to play it anyways.'”

Canfield said it’s been an eventful summer for Brandi, who also got to visit the pits at a NASCAR race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma County, Calif., where she got her picture taken with 11 different drivers, she said.

“I’m a bigger NASCAR fan than I am a country music fan,” Brandi said.

But that doesn’t mean she’s not happy about winning that guitar.

“I’m just happy it wasn’t Billy,” she said, with a grin at her brother.