From July to October of last year, hundreds of consumers shared the different and unique ways they have used Irwin Vise-Grip locking pliers or wrenches to solve problems either in the workplace or at home. The top 50 were selected as finalists, and consumers then cast votes for the best entries.

The top three vote-getters now have a chance to win the grand prize - a custom chopper from East Coast Custom Cycles valued at $25,000. A panel of judges is reviewing the three entries, and a winner will be announced later this month. additional details.

The three finalists are:

  • Paul Schraps, San Rafael, Calif.

    Story: In 1980, I was taking my mother to a cancer clinic in Mexico. After crossing the border, our truck hit a bump in the road, breaking a bolt on the exhaust system. I walked into town to discover the $600 part was not in stock. I used my favorite Vise-Grip locking pliers to clamp the corner of the manifold and the exhaust together, stopping the leak completely. I was able to get my mother to the doctor for her treatment. Twenty-eight years later, I have the same truck with the Vise-Grips still holding the exhaust to the manifold.

  • Paulie Smith, Valley Center, Calif.

    Story: The Baja 500 is one of the most grueling races in the world. Many years almost half the teams who take the green flag fail to cross the finish line for the checkered flag. A “Did Not Finish” is every team’s haunting nightmare. I remember one Baja 500 race I participated in was almost cut short when a brake line failed. However, I was able to use my Irwin Vise-Grip to crimp off the faulty line and maintain pressure on the remaining three brakes. Our team was able to rally and finish that arduous race!

  • Bryan Fox, Chesapeake, Va.

    Story: As a U.S. Navy spine surgeon, I routinely deal with dozens of different types of screws, rods and bolts that have been implanted into the spine. Each manufacturer has their own unique tools to insert and remove their specific hardware. While deployed to the Middle East in support of operation Iraqi Freedom, I did not have access to these specialized tools. I did however have some Vise-Grips that could be sterilized and used to remove the screws and rods from an infected soldier’s spine.