Eight winning tickets in Nenana Ice Classic

Each winning ticket will collect $38,500 from $308,000 pot

Posted: Wednesday, May 09, 2001

NENANA - Eight winning tickets named 1 p.m. Alaska Standard Time on Tuesday as the time the ice would go out on the Tanana River.

That means five individuals and three pools will share the $308,000 winnings from this year's Nenana Ice Classic. Each share is $38,500, with the pools splitting their proceeds.

After taxes, Fairbanks residents Jerry Lajiness and Clyde Monzingo figure they'll have $13,860 each.

"It's pretty exciting. I've played it a lot but I've never won," said Lajiness, 58, a retired plumber who has been in Fairbanks for more than 30 years. "I've bought tickets all over Fairbanks for years and never won. I just lucked out."

Lajiness and Monzingo have been pooling their guesses for the last five years. They buy 50 tickets a year, using the same dates and times. This year, their number came up.

A group at a Fairbanks eatery is splitting the prize from another winning ticket. Each member of the five-person pool from The Grille will receive $5,544 after taxes.

"Everybody pitched in $20 and I went down and bought 50 tickets," said Walter Correll, owner of The Grille. "I brought them back and we each filled 10 of them out."

All but one pool member work at the restaurant. Correll isn't sure just who picked the winning time, but he plans to figure it out and cook up a nice dinner as a reward.

Another winning entry was a six-member pool from Ketchikan called the Madison Street Gang, according to ice classic manager Cherri Forness.

The five individual winners are Garry Harder is from Wisconsin, Dan Kieffer of Anchorage, Johnny David of Fairbanks, Yoko Shima of Two Rivers and Ralph D. Walker of Anchorage, according to Forness and lists of guesses from the 289,000 made this year.

Contestants pay $2 a ticket to guess the exact time the ice will go out on the Tanana River. The clock is triggered by the movement of a tripod set out on the ice in the winter.

That tripod tipped over early last week, and then it moved about 70 feet down the river Tuesday morning. But it has to move 100 feet to trigger the official clock, and that didn't happen until Tuesday afternoon.

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