The Chase the Ace weekly lottery in Hay River is about to cross the half-million-dollar threshold.
That’s because the Oct. 28 jackpot of $391,146 was not won.
Bridgette Dumas of Hay River held the ticket giving her the right to draw for the ace of spades from a diminishing deck of cards – 11 remaining cards placed in a black box – and that would have won the jackpot, but she drew the jack of clubs.
However, she did win a weekly prize of $44,280 just for having her ticket drawn.
Just moments after the draw, Dumas said she didn’t know what she would be doing with her winnings.
“But I better go buy the family a beer,” she said with a laugh.
Dumas said she couldn’t believe it when a ticket she was holding gave her the right to draw for the Chase the Ace jackpot.
Asked what it was like to actually draw for so much money, she replied, “It’s just nerve-wracking, I’m telling you.”
The weekly prize and the progressive jackpot when added together created a total potential prize of $435,426.
Ticket sales totalled $221,400.
“It’s safe to say if the ace doesn’t get pulled tonight over half a million dollars up for grabs next week,” said organizer Glenn Smith of the Hay River Curling Club, which is presenting the lottery, prior to the Oct. 28 draw.
For the next draw on Nov. 4, there will be just 10 cards left in the deck.
It appears more and more people are coming to Hay River each week from other communities to try their luck with Chase the Ace.
In fact, a planeload of 46 people flew from Yellowknife on Oct. 28 and flew back just after the draw.
Chase the Ace was even raised in the legislative assembly on Oct. 28.
Hay River North MLA Rocky (R.J.) Simpson gave a shout out to all the volunteers making Chase the Ace happen.
“I’m going to be very brief so we can all make it out of here early and get down to Chase the Ace,” he joked. “Chase the Ace needs no introduction, everyone in the territory is talking about it, the territory’s abuzz.”
Simpson said Chase the Ace has grown to be such a huge event that it benefits multiple organizations, and really the entire community.
If the jackpot is not won on Nov. 4, there will be no draw on Nov. 11 because of Remembrance Day.
Of the total raised each week, 50 per cent goes to the organization staging Chase the Ace, 30 per cent to the progressive jackpot and 20 per cent to the weekly prize.