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In a meeting on Wednesday night, Cherrie Forness, the manager for the annual Nenana Ice Classic, announced the jackpot for Alaska's premier guessing game.
This year’s Nenana Ice Classic pot reached $318,500. While it is less than last year’s record jackpot of $350,000, Forness said, “Anything over $300,000 I’m good with.”
Each year, the red buckets, that are the repository for purchased and filled out tickets at businesses around the state, are set up and tickets are sold at $2.50 apiece. The “Tripod Days” event is held in the small community and the tripod is set firmly into the ice in the middle of the river. Then, people from all around the globe commence to making their guesses or in some cases educated estimates as to when the tripod will move downstream triggering the timer that will show the official Ice Classic breakup time.
The ice is late to go out this year. With colder than normal temperatures in the interior of Alaska, the ice is still holding firm, as can be seen in this image on the Nenana Ice Classic site.
By this time last year, the ice had gone out and the winner, Fairbanks resident, Tommy Lee Waters, was on his way to collecting his third Ice Classic jackpot. He was the only winner of the classic last year. He won by guessing the exact date and time of the breakup on the Tanana River. Last year, the river went out on April 23rd at 7:31 pm.
This year’s breakup is anybody’s guess, although you can no longer put down a bet as to the date. Tickets went off sale on April 5th. But, with lower than normal temperatures, the ice will not likely go out until sometime in May.