In 1958, Sunbeam Bakery sponsored an unprecedented $60,000 bread contest. This contest was conducted nationally through local grocery stores over the course of four weeks in May. Sponsored by Quality Bakers of America Cooperative, Inc. and its member bakeries awarded winners at both the national and regional level — a total of 978 valuable merchandise prizes. Official entry blanks were distributed through local food stores with the contest concluding on May 24, 1958.
Regional winners were announced and awarded across the country. In Abbeville, Alabama, J. W. Blakely, District Manager for Flowers Baking Co., along with Sunbeam Salesman Maxwell McCall, presented Mrs. Robert Blalock with an Easy Automatic Washer, a Philco transistor portable radio, and an Apache outboard motor by Clinton Engineering Company. Other residents who won big prizes included J.M. Capshaw from Florida who won a 20 volume set of Collier's encyclopedias, an 8mm home movie set, and a Philco transistor portable radio. Mrs. June McKeon from Panama City received a Pfaff sewing machine and a beautiful Gruen ladies' wrist watch.
The top three winners of the national Sunbeam Bread Contest received: First Prize, a brand new 270hp Ambassador V8 automobile, every other year for ten years, went to 11-year-old Benjamin Parker from Dorset, VT. Second Prize was a fabulous all-expense paid one week vacation to London, Paris and the Brussels Fair went to Mrs. Swanson of Paxton, IL. And the Third Prize winner, Mrs. Melba Segura from Mansfield, LA received a 21" color television set.
The idea of a large-scale, high priced national contest was innovative for its time. And Sunbeam Bread, always on the cutting edge of marketing and promotions, was one of the first companies conduct a nationwide contest of this scale!