NEW YORK CITY – Whoever said constant texting is just a bad habit? The teen with the fastest thumbs in the country was crowned on Wednesday at the LG U.S. Texting Championship in New York City, raking in $50,000 in prize money after a series of intense texting battles.
16 year-old Austin Wierschke from Rhinelander, Wis., took home the top prize at the fifth-annual texting event, beating out 11 other finalists including last year’s champion Brianna Hendrickson from Brooklyn, New York.
Wiershke – wearing a gray hoodie and sporting Justin Bieber hair – sailed through each level of the competition by accurately typing passages of text on a QWERTY keyboard. One round even included being blindfolded on stage and cranking out phrases by memory.
“I’m extremely nervous,” Wiershke said while waiting for the results after the final round. “I’m getting ready to hear [Brianna’s] name.” [Read: Video: Can QWERTY Texting Champ Speed Through Touchscreen Typing?]
After the announcement was made, confetti dropped from the ceiling and Wiershke was met on stage by actress and self-proclaimed avid texter Ashley Tisdale, who awarded him his check.
In August, a documentary on MTV called “Thumbs” took a behind-the-scenes look at the teen phone texting culture in America and the intense race to be the fastest. The film follows a series of young texting competitors, including Hendrickson, in the weeks leading up to the 2010 LG U.S. National Texting Championship.
In addition to capturing the always-connected lifestyle of teens nationwide, the movie highlighted the relationships, drama and budding friendships among the competitors.