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Chase the Ace jackpot grows past $150,000
Proceeds of fundraiser going to Yellowknife Fastball League

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Chase the Ace is reaching fever pitch as the jackpot for the Yellowknife Fastball League's fundraiser has now reached $157,665.

NNSL photograph

Baswe Makolo sits dejected with her losing tickets in hand Friday night at the Monkey Tree Pub. She was one of hundreds of people in the city who bought five dollar raffle tickets for the Yk Fastball League's Chase the Ace contest. Makolo can try again this Friday when thr jackpot will be at least $157,665 after there was no grand prize winner last Friday. - John McFadden/NNSL photo

That is the jackpot for this Friday's draw after there was no grand-prize winner last Friday. Patricia Patrick was the winner of the last weekly draw, which means she won $36,000 and the opportunity to draw from the deck of cards in hopes of finding the ace of spades. Finding that card is the ticket to the whole jackpot.

The $36,000 prize is about 20 per cent of the night's ticket sales.

There are now 12 cards left in the deck, which means whoever gets the chance to draw this Friday will have a one-in-12 chance of collecting the grand prize.

Hundreds of people had dollar signs in their eyes as they crowded into five venues Friday night: The Monkey Tree Pub, After 8 Billiards, Twist and Shout, the Top Knight and the Multiplex.

The way it works is a $5 raffle ticket gives a person gets the chance to pick a card from the dwindling deck, if their ticket is drawn. The person who finds the ace of spades wins the grand prize, which is now approaching $160,000. There is no limit on how many tickets a person can buy.

Patrick, who was at the Multiplex when her number was drawn, was then chauffeured to the Monkey Tree. She picked up her cheque and then high-tailed it out of the bar before Yellowknifer had a chance to speak with her. She did not respond to a request for comment this week.

The contest has been a tremendous boon for all the establishments involved as they have seen their Friday night crowds swell to the point that they have had to turn away patrons at the door. The Yellowknife Fastball League takes in about 50 per cent of the weekly sales.

The lottery has been a tremendous fundraiser for the league, according to one of its players, Chris Greencorn.

"I think it's been a benefit for everyone involved," he said.

"People are lining up at 4 (p.m.), 4:30 (p.m.) to get tickets."

Ryan Strain, Yk Fastball League's past-president, was among the standing room only crowd at the Monkey Tree Friday night. He said this latest Chase the Ace contest has greatly exceeded their expectations.

"We've done two or three Chase the Aces that didn't catch on like this," he said. "We've worked a lot of lonely Friday nights where we only made a couple of hundred of bucks."

Money raised through the Chase the Ace lottery goes to the Green Diamond Project.

According to the fastball league's website, the association is a non-profit group working to "rethink, rebuild and revitalize" the city's community ball diamonds and surrounding green spaces. Funding has been spent on improvements to Tommy Forrest Ball Park, where a number of upgrades have taken place including a new grass outfield.

Improvements have also been made at Parker Park and the field at St. Joseph School.

Yk Fastball representative Mike Auge estimates the league has raised approximately $245,000 with this incarnation of Chase the Ace to date.

Last November, a Hay River man won $463,079 when he drew the ace of spades in a Chase the Ace contest sponsored by the local curling club.

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