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Pat Shingleton: "An Ice Classic"

5 months 3 weeks 1 day ago May 02, 2016 May 2, 2016 Monday, May 02 2016 May 02, 2016 10:29 PM in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingleton

The Nenana Ice Classic began in 1917 by bridge builders crossing the Tenana River new Fairbanks, Alaska.  Back then the weather changes also changed the schedules for area laborers. When the river froze-over, work stopped and speculation as to an ice break began the wagering. This classic lottery doesn't match the national payouts but it does provide speculation and excitement. Cash prizes these days are awarded to those who guess the exact minute the ice breaks. The popularity of the event also led to needed validation of the exact time and the distribution of winnings to the melt-down.  A specially constructed tripod contraption determines the winner. Originally made of wooden logs, a wire attached to the top of the device is strung to an onshore clock. The clock stops when the melting ice shifts the tripod 100 feet. Last year there were 24 tickets designating the winning time -3:48 P.M., Alaska Standard Time and the date was April 25th. The jackpot in 2015 was $ 363,627 as 300,000 tickets were sold with 24 winning tickets splitting the prize.At 3:39 PM , April 23rd, 2016 the ice melted and the clock stopped. Winners are currently being identified and contacted.


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