Pat Shingleton: "When Will the Ice Melt?"
The Nenana Ice Classic began in 1917 by engineers building a bridge across the Tanana River near Fairbanks, Alaska. Work stopped once the river froze and speculation as to when the ice would break began the wagering. For this village of 500, cash prizes are awarded to those who guess the exact minute the ice breaks. A previously constructed contraption, made of wooden logs with a wire attached to the top and to a clock onshore, determined the winner. A more sophisticated device offers a precise time as to the ice melt and the winning time. The jackpot is determined by the number of entries with a guaranteed payout of $125,000. Ice Classic manager Cherrie Forness reported that Anchorage resident Patricia Andrew was the only entrant to guess the exact time the ice "officially went out" on the Tenana River in Nenana. It moved at 12:21 a.m. April 14, 2020, the earliest in the contest's 102-year history with her winnings totaling $311,652. For this year's contest, the jackpot is again estimated to nearly $315,000. You can buy a ticket or on-line at nenanaakiceclassic.com.
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