Last updated: 09:24 AM ET, Fri October 16 2015

How To Win Your Own Missouri B&B

Hotel & Resort | Lori Rackl | October 16, 2015

How To Win Your Own Missouri B&B

As few as 200 words and $150 could win you the keys to a bed and breakfast in central Missouri.

The innkeepers at High Street Victorian B&B are holding an essay contest to give away their historic property in Boonville, a small town nestled along the Missouri River.

They’re asking people to write 200 words or less about why they want to own High Street Victorian. Essays, along with a $150 entry fee, originally were due Oct. 15.

The owners haven’t had as many takers as they’d hoped, so they’re exercising their option to tack on 30 days to the eligibility period.

“I’m very surprised we haven’t hit the number we’re aiming for,” said Kriss Royer, who bought the 1880 house with her husband, Gene, in 2004. “I think part of the reason is because not enough people know about it.”

The goal is to get 2,500 essays — enough to cover the $375,000 the Royers were asking when they had the home on the market earlier this year. The couple, whose three grown children have flown the coop, plan to move to the Pacific Northwest.

“We always wanted to own a B&B and this house was perfect for it,” Royer said, adding that the contest winners aren’t obligated to keep it a bed and breakfast.

High Street Victorian has three guestrooms and a tranquil backyard garden tricked out with a small waterfall and koi pond. Many of the home’s original 19th century features remain, adding to the Victorian vibe. The furnishings, pictured at left, come with the house, located a half-block from one of the nation’s premier rails-to-trails paths, the 238-mile-long Katy Trail, pictured below.

The Royers got the idea for the essay contest after seeing a news story about a Maine innkeeper who gave away her property in a similar way. They consulted an attorney and drafted the contest rules, which are spelled out at

“The website has had over 11,000 hits but apparently it’s not enough,” Royer said.

If they reach 2,500 essays by mid-November, the couple will narrow down the field to the top 25. An independent panel of judges will choose the winner.

If the 2,500 threshold isn’t met, Royer said, entry fees will be refunded.

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