By Rachel D'oro Associated Press Writer
Published: Apr 24, 2004
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Mother Nature picked the winning numbers for the 88th Nenana Ice Classic on Saturday, melting the ice on the Tanana River enough to move it downstream.
Organizers of the popular yearly game of chance said there were six correct guesses for the winning time of 2:16 p.m. Each $2.50 ticket is worth a sixth of $301,000 jackpot - $50,166.66, or $36,120 once federal taxes are taken out.
A tripod erected on the ice is connected by wire to a clock on shore to detect the ice movement in Nenana, a community of 500 about 55 miles south of Fairbanks.
Organizers did not release the names of winners, but said they bought tickets in Anchorage, Juneau, North Pole and the Fairbanks area.
The jackpot, determined by the number of tickets sold, has reached $300,000 for the last several years. At least 50 percent of gross ticket sales is placed in the jackpot, with the rest going to expenses and to charities or nonprofit organizations in Nenana.
Last year, a pool of 19 winners shared a $301,000 jackpot when the ice went out at 6:22 p.m. on April 29.
The earliest the ice has gone out is April 20, in 1940 and 1998. The latest is May 20, 1964.