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Northport teen wins PlayStation contest; Sony to bring gaming event to village as prize

Noelle Stegner, 14, of Northport, at her family

Noelle Stegner, 14, of Northport, at her family home on July 16, 2015. Stegner won the Sony PlayStation My Road to Greatness competition. Credit: Chris Ware

Northport teen Noelle Stegner won a nationwide Sony PlayStation contest that will bring a free gaming experience to the village on Aug. 1 -- once event organizers find somewhere to park their tractor trailer.

Stegner, 14, created a video that was one of four chosen from 500 entries in Sony's My Road to Greatness competition.

The huge PlayStation trailer will open up into a free video game center, featuring unreleased games playable on 22 gaming stations.

There will also be free food and a concert by local bands on a separate stage -- starting with Stegner's own, Tomorrow's Apologies. She sings for the band, which will play 1980s and '90s covers and at least one original song Stegner wrote.

"I am so stoked," she said Thursday afternoon at her Northport home. "I am so excited for it . . . everyone should have an opportunity to go."

The remaining challenge is where to hold the event, which marketing officials say could draw 600 people. PlayStation wanted to use Cow Harbor Park in Northport, offering to pay for all associated costs, including any overtime for police and security.

But when Stegner's parents, Joann and Daniel, presented it at a July 14 meeting, village officials were immediately concerned about the 21/2 week time frame: Northport typically has months to prepare for events of this scale.

Ultimately, Village Attorney Stuart Besen said Aug. 1 was not realistic and suggested they try for October. Besen cited concerns about parking, traffic, the needs of the boating community and other issues.

Josh Mooney, an Atlanta-based account manager for Octagon, a Norwalk, Connecticut-based marketing company, said October could be a challenge.

Stegner's event is one stop on PlayStation's second annual Road to Greatness Tour, a cross-country marketing event that runs from March to November. Rearranging schedules could be difficult, he said.

Other options are Northport High School, where Stegner will be a sophomore in the fall, or outside of the Greenlawn Game Stop.

"I'm not worried about the location," Mooney said. "It's going to be awesome no matter where it is."

Since the park is out, Stegner and her family are hoping for the school. It would have significance for Stegner, who decided to enter the contest after what she said was years of being bullied for being different.

Stegner styles her own hair -- which is currently half-blonde and half-purple -- likes bands most of her classmates haven't heard of, and is an avid gamer.

"Since I'm a girl I get told that I'm a poser for it; that I'm not actually into it, that I'm just pretending to because guys think it's hot," she said. "But, no. I'm really into it. I will kick your butt in Mortal Kombat."

She said gaming was a "healthy escape" from the bullying.

Stegner, the only girl and the only teenager to win PlayStation's contest, said submitting her video was a way to bounce back after a dark period. She shot and edited the video in 24 hours. It featured her friends and family acting out her favorite games, including The Last of Us, Uncharted and Twisted Metal.

"For Noelle, you could see the production value in the video and her passion for a lot of generations of games and consoles," Mooney said when asked why Stegner's video was chosen.

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