FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Organizers of the Nenana Ice Classic are trying to figure out what to do about two ticket collection cans that still have not arrived from Ketchikan.
The cans contained hundreds of entry forms from those trying to guess when the ice on the Tanana River would break up, marking the arrival of spring in Interior Alaska. The 84-year-old contest is Alaska's oldest lottery.
The ice went out on the Tanana River on Monday at 10:47 a.m.
The cans were mailed two or three weeks ago. Contest rules state that the tickets have to be in Nenana before the ice goes out in order to be included in the contest.
In the 15 years Carolene Weiss has served on the Ice Classic board she has never seen this happen.
''It really upsets us when they don't come in,'' she said. ''They've been late but never this late. They've always made it in before the ice went out.''
A special board meeting may be held to deal with the issue, she added. ''We were waiting to see what happens. If they don't come in they just don't come in.''
If the lost cans arrive and contain any tickets with the winning time, the Ice Classic will require proof that the cans were not tampered with, Weiss said. ''We definitely couldn't pay if they have been mailed after the ice went out. We have to know exactly when it was mailed and have proof of it.''
Ticket sales ended April 5.
The cans were mailed from Ketchikan by an employee of the Alaskan and Proud grocery store. Manager Carla Claassen said she wasn't sure what date the cans, which had been sealed with tape, were packaged in a box and mailed to Nenana.
Instead of being sent priority mail as Claassen intended, the box was shipped parcel post, she said. Her store has sold Ice Classic tickets for several years and Claassen expressed regret over the incident.
Both classic managers and Claassen have called the postal service about the missing parcel. Katherine Durden of the Post Office's marketing department in Anchorage said since the package wasn't labeled priority mail it most likely went surface mail. But Durden said the parcel should have arrived by now.
So far, 18 people guessed the correct time and will share in the contest's $335,000 jackpot.
If no new names are added, the 18 winners will each be sent a check for about $18,000 on June 1.
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