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Yahoo! Looks for Amateur Yodeler

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NEW YORK Yahoo!, recognized by its signature yodel, today kicked off a search for America's favorite amateur yodeler at the Times Square Studios in New York.

The winner of the nationwide search will win an appearance in an upcoming Yahoo! TV spot and $10,000.

The promotion features audition-style events across eight U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Kansas City, Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. During each competition, a panel of local celebrity judges will select three semifinalists based on their yodeling abilities, star presence and style as they perform the Yahoo! yodel and their own "freestyle" version. Participants may also enter by submitting their yodel online or via VHS videocassette.

The three semifinalists chosen from each city and the online/VHS submissions will have their winning yodels featured on Yahoo! at yodel.yahoo.com, where visitors will vote for one finalist from each of the eight markets and one from the online/VHS submissions. The nine finalists will win a trip to New York to compete in the Yahoo! Yodel Challenge national championship.

Wylie Gustafson, whose yodel has been immortalized in Yahoo! ads, will host each event. In April 2002, Gustafson, who recorded a yodel for Yahoo!'s first TV commercial in 1996 for $590, sued the Sunnyvale, Calif., company for $5 million over copyright infringement. In the suit, which sought an injunction prohibiting continued use of the yodel, he claimed that neither Yahoo! nor its agents informed him that his yodel would be used in additional ads or as a Yahoo! trademark. The parties settled shortly after the suit was filed.

Yahoo! said it would donate $10 for every participant in each city to the local Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization.