If you visited the Duck Inn during the National Football League Conference Championship games two weekends ago, you probably would not have bothered to enter the contest for the TV that owner Scott Rosin claimed to be raffling off.
The small, boxy set was a stand-in for the 50-inch plasma that the Duck Inn, in Soldotna, will actually be giving away during a Super Bowl party this afternoon.
So why joke about raffling off a television that makes typewriters seem state-of-the-art? The bar decided it was best to make light of an unfortunate incident that took place in December.
Following a party on Dec. 24, 2009, someone broke into the inn and stole the original 50-inch plasma screen that one lucky person was supposed to win at Rosin's bar during the Super Bowl.
Rosin has seen security footage of the masked individual walk into his establishment in the early hours and steal two bottles of vodka and money from the cash register. The thief then made a second trip into the bar to steal the television that had been purchased for the contest.
"Watching somebody come in at 3 a.m. rummaging and ransacking the place, it's the same as having someone break into your own home," Rosin said. Alaska State Troopers are still investigating the case.
The raffle for the television at the Duck Inn has become something of a Super Bowl tradition. More than 100 people entered the contest this year, Rosin estimates. Whenever someone comes into the Duck Inn while professional football is being shown, they are allowed to throw a ticket into a jar. During the Super Bowl, Rosin, or someone who works at the bar, will pull a name from the jar to decide the winner.
"The ones that have been here all year care a lot about it," said bartender Norma Kinney, who has worked at the inn for 12 years. "It's become a regular thing."
After the burglary, Rosin will still hold a raffle for a television. But he will have to put up another $1,000 or so to buy a new one. He also chose to spend a couple grand on a security system so he could better protect his neighborhood establishment.
Kinney said the inn is often at its best during football. Football brings out the friendly rivalries, cheering, laughing and community spirit in everyone, she said.
When someone steals the contest television, which almost represents the spirit of the Super Bowl, Rosin said it is a bit of a bummer.
During the NFC Championship Game, which pitted the Minnesota Vikings against the New Orleans Saints, the Duck Inn was moderately crowded. The crowd's loud cheering seemed to be in favor of the Vikings, who eventually lost the game in overtime.
Maria Tompkins, Casey Huf and Andrew Gourley sat at a table in the corner, enjoying the football game. They said they would definitely be coming to the Duck Inn on the Super Bowl for the brisket roast and the lively atmosphere.
"It's a good spot. They've got TVs everywhere," Huf said. "Football, food and alcohol: all the things you need."
Tompkins said she has been coming to the bar all season long to watch football. As a result, she also wants to come to the Super Bowl party to see if she wins the TV. Gourley agreed.
"Hell yeah, we've got to come to the drawing," he said.
Andrew Waite can be reached at email@example.com.
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