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U.S. Text Messaging Champion Is $50,000 Richer

Austin Wierschke (left) and Kent Augustine compete in the final round of the Sixth Annual LG Mobile U.S. National Texting Championships on August 8, 2012 in New York City.
Austin Wierschke (left) and Kent Augustine compete in the final round of the Sixth Annual LG Mobile U.S. National Texting Championships on August 8, 2012 in New York City.Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Austin Wierschke is a very well-spoken teenager, but he’d rather use his smartphone to say what’s on his mind. “Texting is the best way of communicating,” the Rhinelander (Wis.) native says. “You think more about what you are going to say, and it delivers your thoughts in clear and beautiful language.”

More importantly for the 17-year-old, texting is a lot more lucrative than speaking. Wierschke won $50,000 on Aug. 8 by capturing his second straight title at LG Electronics’ 2012 U.S. National Texting Championship, an annual competition to find the fastest thumbs in America. When you can text 149 characters in 39 seconds with no spelling or punctuation errors, who needs vocal cords?