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Think this back yard is boring?

The Boring couple who owns it say 'yes' ... and they hope others say so, too

Michelle Amend of Boring had no idea what to expect last summer when she heard about a contest for back yards.

She thought: 'Hey, what do I have to lose?'

The answer, of course, is nothing.

Instead, she has everything to win, and Michelle and her husband, Mike, are positive people.

While the contest is sponsored by an online store for home products and facilitated partially by Justin Cave of the Home and Garden TV channel, the grand prize is significant.

The winning family will win $15,000 in materials to improve their back yard. Second place is a $700 fire pit, and the third-place winner gets a patio heater and a $50 gift certificate.

Lest this seem like a contest to see who has the most attractive back yard, it is not.

The grand-prize-winning family will have its back yard dubbed the most blah back yard in America.

Michelle and Mike have entered their back yard in Boring, hoping the judges will (yawn) look at it and say it is the most boring.

But there is more to the judging than just appearance. A written statement accompanied each entry, according to Dave Ladetto, public relations for csnstores.com. Ladetto is a member of the Room Rescue Crew, whose members read each of the thousands of entries.

The Amends didn't plan to live their lives with a blah back yard. But their first priority was renovating their 1975-vintage house when they moved to Boring eight years ago.

'We did a vast majority of the (renovation) ourselves slowly (over the eight years),' Mike said, 'so we never really had any time or money to dedicate to the back yard.'

'The back yard is horrible,' Michelle said. 'The deck needs repair, and there is nothing in the yard. We just haven't had time.

'This is such a busy time for us. It would be nice to have someone come in and rescue us.'

In a nearby city, both Amends have stressful jobs - he's a police sergeant, and she works for a fire department - so when they return home after a day's work they need a place to relax.

They need a shaded, fragrant back yard with a barbecue grill or a gazebo or lounge chairs on their deck or a marshmallow-roasting fire pit.

But none of that is happening, yet.

These public safety personnel are shooting for the grand prize to end the frustration they feel each time they look out to their unrepaired deck and the empty yard.

'We are active in keeping our community safe, and face a lot of stress because of it,' Michelle wrote in her contest entry. 'We would love to … sit back and marvel at a beautiful back yard rather than look at all the extra work we have to do … please come to our rescue.'

Nowadays, the Amends keep telling one another not to get too excited. They felt really good to be in the top 100 of more than 13,000. 'But to be in the top five,' she said, 'would be really nice.'

The top 100 will be narrowed to five finalists soon, with one of the quintet decided by the number of votes cast on the facebook.com/csnstores website (click on Contest Corner and then on Battle Your Blah Backyard Contest, then scroll through the top 100 alphabetically to the Ms).

The other four finalists will be chosen by the Room Rescue Crew, based on what is written by each contestant.

Eventually, the CSN crew will select the top three for the prizes CSN has offered.

The Boring Amends are hoping to be on top of the heap of thousands of back yard owners.

They're not embarrassed to let everyone know their back yard is boring.

After all, it fits very well in their hometown.