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Oxbow Chase the Ace hit records and found lucky winners

The Oxbow and District Recreation Board's virtual Chase the Ace reached its historical high before it went to three lucky winners on June 2.
Chase the Ace
Winners of the Oxbow and District Recreation Board's virtual Chase the Ace were, from left Ken Hood, Mae Durante and Sam Dickson. Photo submitted

The Oxbow and District Recreation Board's virtual Chase the Ace reached its historical high before it went to three lucky winners on June 2.

There were 20,000 tickets to sell, and Tami Scott, an active member of the recreation board, said it was a real community-based project with a lot of participation.

The enormous support that the board saw from people all across the province and especially the southeast, reinforced by an impressive jackpot, allowed the board to sell out tickets before the deck of cards was gone and two weeks before the licence expired.

It meant that almost a week before the final draw date, the jackpot was sitting at its historical high of $60,006.

"We certainly didn't expect the rush that there was and it was exciting. It was very busy, but it was exciting. People started purchasing immediately after the second last draw," Scott said.

With 19 cards left in the deck, the last batch of 2,336 tickets was sold in 18 hours, bringing the weekly pot to $4,672. It was won by Allan Coffey on the draw day.

Since the Ace of Spades and an impressive jackpot coming with it had to go, the game continued. On the eighth try, the lucky ticket with the names of Oxbow's Ken Hood, Mae Durante and Sam Dickson on it was drawn. Hood, one of the winners, explained that Dickson has a superstition about the number eight, which helped them win the game.

"The number eight is lucky in Chinese. We were the eighth person to pick a card. Ken picked and he told his wife, if her name comes up, she has to pick eight. And our number comes up. And he picked eight and that's where the Ace of Spades was," Hood shared.

He added that winning felt "excellent," as "money always helps no matter what, not that we couldn't live without it, but it's nice that it went local."

The three individuals came together to buy one ticket almost by an accident.

"Mae is the restaurant owner (in Oxbow). We go and have coffee and breakfast there pretty much every Friday. And the pot was getting bigger, so I told her she should buy some tickets because I didn't know if she knew about it. And then she said, 'Well, how about we go in together?' And I said, 'Well, if the two of us are going together, we have to get the luckiest person I know, Ken, in too. So he showed up and we all threw our money in together and for about a month we're buying every week and it worked out good," Hood shared.

While they played together, the jackpot they won will help each one of them in a different way.  

"I've got a Visa I'm paying off and I'm going to side my house, which we're doing anyway but this will help pay for the siding. Mae, she is from the Philippines, and she is going to put money towards her car and she was planning to go sometime later this year to Philippines to see her mom. And Ken, he's probably going to donate quite a bit back to the town, the community. He says the older you are, you don't need as much money. We'll help out the town a bit," Hood said.

Winners also thanked everybody for participating and supporting the community.

The game raised $100,000 for the rec board's needs allowing them to focus on some of the projects this year and to continue improving the community facilities in 2022.

They hosted this event to raise funds for the five facilities it is responsible for in Oxbow: the community rink, the swimming pool, the memorial hall, the Ralph Allen Memorial Museum and Bow Valley Park. Among other expenses, these funds will contribute to paying off the debt of the new swimming pool and will help cover the projected cost of a new hall, which the recreation board says they would like to construct within the next seven or eight years.

"The projects this year are for the swimming pool, where we're helping to repay the debt, and the rink is saving up for some new equipment. So that's where the money is going to go this year," Scott said.

The board also thanked all involved with the successful fundraiser.

"Thank you so much to the rec board members for working every week, to Bob Goodward and Kimberley Sully on being our designated proxies, to Rhonda Hodgson and the staff at Affinity Credit Union and to Christy Hook and staff at the Town Office for doing in-person sales every week and finally to Lian Heiser who made sure all the e-transfers and money part of the game were well looked after. And of course, to Ian (Scott) for the dad jokes. Finally thank you to our players, whether you bought every week or just now and again, we appreciate you," states their Facebook post.

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