dawson ice guessing contest: it’s all over

The wait is over. It’s been more of a melt-off than a break-up this spring 2010, but the Yukon River is running again.

The ice broke its grip at 3:12 a.m. this morning, according to Joyce Cayley, speaking on CFYT Radio on behalf of IODE. The annual Ice Guessing Contest is over.

But what’s the Ice Guessing Contest? Every spring, IODE (the International Order of the Daughters of the Empire) in Dawson City sell tickets for $2 that anyone can fill in to guess the exact minute the ice will break. The winner gets $999.00 or half the pot – whichever is larger. Yes, that’s right, a minimum of a grand!

MAY 1st UPDATE: there were two tickets with 3:10 a.m. selected as the time for the ice to break, so the prize money is split between local musician Aaron and downtown hairstylist Maria. Congrats guys!

That’s what this tripod was for – the flagged line connects to a clock, and as soon as the tripod moves due to river ice movement, the clock stops. Typically, once someone reads the clock, the Fire Chief sounds the city alarm. Not this year – maybe because of the time of night?

I took these pix on April 15. Some years, though rarely, there have been false alarms if only the ice below the tripod moves and the ice banded across the river remains locked.

The beautiful architecture in the background with one end detailed with asymmetrical “poles” is, by the way, the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre, owned and operated by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in.

See how soft the ice looks around the tripod’s feet? April 15 was the last day I dared walk on the river ice, though others were still crossing to West Dawson for days after.

This morning, around 8:45 a.m., the same spot looked like this:

Mammoth Mapping took their daily picture at almost the exact same time, at 8:43 a.m. (see yesterday’s post for a description of who these folks are and what they do).

So who won the gambling pot? This pertinent detail is not yet officially announced! As for my Ice Guessing tickets, have a look…

Oh look, the date + time were carefully blocked out to dampen betting competition when I used this image in an earlier email. So sorry!

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