At least 19 winners in Nenana Ice Classic

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2003

NENANA (AP) The ice went out on the Tanana River Tuesday evening to end the suspense in this year's Nenana Ice Classic.

At this time, there are 19 winning tickets,'' said Cherrie Forness, the ice classic director, just after the river started running.

We have one more can (1,000 tickets) to add to our database. Once that is done, which should be tomorrow, we will notify the winners.'' The will share $301,000.

The winning time was 6:22 p.m. Alaska Standard Time, according to Cherri Forness, the ice classic director. The time equates to 7:22 p.m. on the Alaska Daylight Time used across the state.

The sky was clear and sunny when the tripod headed down the river, and the temperature was about 48 degrees.

The identities and hometowns of the winning ticketholders weren't available Tuesday night, Forness said, and there were still 1,000 tickets that hadn't been checked yet.

That could yield more winning tickets, but the odds are against it. A total of 240,166 guesses were received this year, Forness said. Counting was expected to be finished on Wednesday.

It was the eighth time the ice went out on April 29, in 87 years that the annual contest has been held.

Last year, the ice went out on May 7 and there were six winning tickets.

The number of $2.50 entries was down this year from about 299,000 last year, when the price was $2 a ticket.

But with the higher price, the overall jackpot was little changed from the $304,000 paid out last year.

The tradition started in 1917 after bored railroad workers began betting when the ice would go out and they could return to work.

Money from the ticket sales goes to charities, after the jackpot and expenses are paid out.

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