Ice breaks on Alaska's Tanana River, signalling spring

Posted: Monday, May 01, 2000

NENANA, Alaska (AP) -- The ice broke on the Tanana River at 10:47 a.m. Alaska Standard Time Monday, rewarding lucky guessers with their share of a record $335,000 jackpot.

The Nenana Ice Classic is Alaska's oldest lottery. Contestants try to guess the correct day and time when the ice on the Tanana River will go out, signaling spring breakup in Interior Alaska.

The exact time of breakup is determined by a wooden tripod, wired to a clock, that's placed in the middle of the frozen river. When the ice breaks, the tripod travels downriver, tripping the clock to mark the official time.

Contest manager Cherrie Forness says the tripod tipped over Sunday afternoon, signalling breakup was imminent.

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