Menu Filter

The legacy continues: Meet your Detroiters in the Chevy SXSW Challenge

It's gonna be a double win all the way for us, Detroit!

It’s that time of year again: The Chevy SXSW Road Trip Challenge is in full swing. And this time around, Detroit’s got two teams in the race.

In case you were living under a rock last year when Team Detroit took home the gold and glory, it’s a competition hosted by Chevy that pits teams across the county against each other — while they all road trip to Austin to the South by Southwest Conference. Last year’s team of Dave Murray, Brandon Chesnutt, Henry Balanon and Audrey Walker completed an array of tasks along the way, including, but not limited to, finding someone to teach them line dancing, reading to kids at a library, and gathering small town newspapers.

So our two teams this year are Team High Five and Team Motown. The competition’s a little different in that these teams will be competing against each other, and this year’s gig will also include a charity component. And instead of the winner being determined by number of tweets, status updates and support from their community, a panel of to-be-determined judges will make that call. The rest of the details are pretty hush hush for the time being.

Each team has already hit the ground running with a group video and a Facebook and Twitter page, all in the hopes of winning over the hearts of those of us here in the Motor City. But who are these crazy people willing to drive to the Longhorn State road trip-style?

Well, one of them happens to be our very own Brian Ambrozy of The Urbane Way. I asked him and the other 7 competitors how they felt when they found out they’d be part of the Chevy SXSW Challenge and what they hope to get out of it.


Brian Ambrozy

“I’m, of course, terribly excited to attend SXSW, as it’s a trade show I’ve never been to, and heading down there with three others on a road trip is definitely going to be an experience of a lifetime.

The thing that most excites me, besides the obvious stuff, is the chance to actually drive through middle America; I’ve never done it. I’ve also never been to Texas. I’ve always had my heart set on a road trip down that way, but I never thought the opportunity would come handed to me on a silver platter like this.

What could be more American than driving to Texas in a Chevy? It’s a classic teen dream, and while I’m not a teen anymore, those dreams don’t die. This is going to be a hell of a good time.”

Nikki Stephan

“I love Detroit and am very proud of our community. Being part of one of the teams that will represent Detroit during the Chevy SXSW road trip challenge is another opportunity to bring our community together to support and cheer for a common cause. It’s also a chance to show the rest of the country our passion and creativity. Even though we’re competing against each other, the eight team members representing Detroit will have a unique opportunity to bond together during this experience. I’m really looking forward to learning more about my seven counterparts and telling people I meet at SXSW why Detroit is a growing and thriving community. And, of course, I’m looking forward to winning. ;)”

Kyle Stuef

“I couldn’t be more excited about being chosen to be a part of #TeamMotown for this year’s road trip challenge.  I’ve spent the past couple years working outside of the digital world, and I can’t think of a better way to jump back in with both feet. I can’t wait to cram into a car with my teammates, have some fun, and be a part of the SXSW festivities. I’ve lived in SE Michigan my whole life, so being picked to represent the area is pretty cool.”

Jacki Halas

“I’m so excited and honored to have been selected to participate in Chevy’s SXSW road trip this year. I’ll be representing the mighty D on Team Motown and am ready to put my social media skills to the test and make Detroit proud! Make sure to follow our crazy travels online at and on Twitter through our hashtag #MotownSXSW.”


Norman Witte III

“Last year’s road trip kinda hit me all at once, I didn’t really know what was going on at first. But, when I saw our team competing, and how they were representing my city, I knew that it was something I wanted to do. I just tried to get involved with it as much as possible, and submitted my case to the powers that be. I am so glad that I was chosen. It’s an honor, and I intend to rep the D to the fullest!”

Shauna Nicholson

“I’m honored to be included in the Detroit SXSW Team. It’s an awesome opportunity to bring together the Detroit community, spread the great pieces Detroit in communities between home and Austin, and bring awareness to some remarkable organizations.

I’m incredibly fortunate to have Chevrolet covering travel expenses and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit backing my hotel and conference fees.”

Bobby Mercader

I found out that I was part of the Chevy Road Trip Teams when I was hosting #DETSEO at the Urbane Space. My phone kept on buzzing in the middle of the meeting so I decided to put it on silent. After the meeting I looked at my phone and was surprised to see that I had something like 50 e-mails, 40 facebook notices and a lot of mentions on twitter. Right then I knew that I was chosen to be on one of the Detroit Teams. I was really excited but I was also really appreciative to know that the Detroit Social Media Community was going to support us on every step of my adventure.”

Joe Minock

“I’m absolutely honored and humbled to be named to a team for the 2011 Chevy SXSW Challenge. To have the opportunity follow in the footsteps of last years team is just awesome. They set the bar really high, and it’s good that we’ve got two teams from Detroit this year, as it’s going to take a solid effort from all of us to match what happened in 2010. That being said, we’ve got a great deal of talent represented in both teams, and it’s sure to be a really fun and exciting trip. No matter which team wins, we’re both committed to bringing the win back to Detroit.”

Post by Erica Finley, digital media strategist at The Urbane Way and @Erica_Urbane on Twitter. At The Urbane Way, we specialize in social media marketing and PR and lifestyle branding. How can we help you?

4 responses to "The legacy continues: Meet your Detroiters in the Chevy SXSW Challenge"

  1. Nikki Stephan Feb 11, 2011 at 17:28

    We appreciate the support, Erica! It’s awesome to know we still have the community cheering us on, even if you can’t help give us votes! But, be sure to keep watch on our websites and Facebook pages/Twitter handles to see how you CAN support us…like coming out to Rosie O’Grady’s tomorrow at 4 p.m. to help Team Motown raise money for Adopt-a-Classroom. :)!/event.php?eid=200323626647855

  2. Tweets that mention The legacy continues: Meet your Detroiters in the Chevy SXSW Challenge | the urbane life -- Feb 11, 2011 at 13:48

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by primesuspect, Erica Finley, Howard Collens, Megan Corbett, highfivesxsw and others. highfivesxsw said: RT @Erica_Urbane: The legacy continues: Meet your Detroiters in the Chevy #SXSW Challenge: #motownsxsw #highfivesxsw […]

  3. DJ Meph Feb 12, 2011 at 13:17

    Thanks, Erica! I have to say I’m really loving the element of competition within Detroit this year. At the end of this we will all come together, but in the meantime we will be pushing each other to do better along the way. The element of charity in this year’s competition is a welcome change. It’s starting to feel less like Road Rules, and more like The Apprentice. I know that Urbane will be behind both teams all the way, thanks again for your support!

  4. Erica Finley Feb 14, 2011 at 21:37

    You guys are so welcome. But the thanks really belong to you for representing us so well in this competition. We know you’ll do great things, and we want to cheer you on the whole way!