Wayne Stoler normally types up to 180 words a minute, but he slowed down to 140 to win the World Invitational Type-Off contest in Las Vegas, Nev., last week.
Stoler, 33, owns Letter Perfect Word Processing, a company that sells mailing lists and publishes a monthly newsletter on new businesses. Thanks to his victory, he also owns the title of world's fastest typist, a 1991 Buick Park Avenue and a crystal trophy fashioned in the shape of a hand holding the world.
He also won $11,000.
At the contest, which took place in entertainer Wayne Newton's dressing room at the Las Vegas Hilton, Stoler beat out five other finalists -- one man and four women. Strangely, none of the finalists was a secretary. All were homemakers or business owners.
While other competitors were skittish about the competition, Stoler said, he wasn't nervous at all. Contestants were penalized for inaccuracies and he made only six mistakes.
During one round, he even turned around and waved to the audience and the judges, to their delight. "That made me a lot more comfortable," he said.
Key Tronics, a computer keyboard and software company, and Professional Secretaries International sponsored the contest, which drew 10,000 entrants -- 16 of them males -- from 40 countries.
Stoler said gender had nothing to do with his win, although he said the sponsors were amazed that male finalists took first and second place. "It's not a sexist thing at all," he declared.
Stoler's typing skills have been good to him. He earned extra money throughout high school and college typing term papers for other people.
Although he doesn't do much typing these days, he says he can make $70 an hour typing 22 pages.
"I've never seen anyone type that fast and it's just amazing," said Gina Baney, a clerk who works in the office. "He's good at it."
"I never really pushed for speed," said Stoler, a 1980 graduate of Loyola College. "There are fast people out there. I just happened to dobetter that day.
"I don't see myself as typing fast," he said. "You've got to understand that it's all reflexes. What people are amazed at is that it's a man typing at that speed, rather than a man typing."
Stoler doesn't remember the name of his typing teacher in junior high. But he has a message for her: "Thanks."
She helped make him the world's fastest typist.
"I'm trying to track this woman down to thank her," he said. "Mrs. Wade [his high school social studies teacher], too. She had heard me typing and she said if you can get your rhythm better, you can probably become a better typist. From there, I just improved myself."