Port Mouton Chase the ace draws the crowds

Nick
Nick Moase
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As the jackpot grows ever larger, so do the crowds at the weekly Chase the Ace at the West Queens Recreation Centre in Port Mouton. 

It's not uncommon to see the parking lot full and the cars lining the roads on Wednesday evenings.

The way it works is fairly simple. Tickets are sold for $1 each, and the winner gets 20 per cent of the pot. Forty per cent goes to the West Queens Recreation Centre. The last 40 per cent is where things get interesting.

Each week that money goes into a pot, and the weekly winner gets to draw from a deck of cards looking for the Ace of Spades. If they don't draw the card, the one they drew is ripped in half and the money stays in the jackpot.

The fundraiser started in October, and the ace has yet to be drawn. As of July 23 they are down to 14 cards and a jackpot sitting at 16,386.60.

"Your chances of picking the ace increases, however the chance of your ticket being called decreases," says Roberta Roy, organizer of the event.

That's because as the pot builds, so does the popularity. Last week they sold 5,000 tickets.

Growing the pot was slow at first. The fundraiser has taken place every Wednesday since it started, barring those that hit on holidays and snowstorms. Word has spread however, and as the jackpot went up so to did the crowds.

"It does take a little bit of time to get built up, but once it hits $5,000 you start to see the crowds increasing," says Roy.

A friend suggested the idea for the fundraiser to Roy, after hearing about a similar fundraiser in Noel. That community raised over $200,000 using Chase the Ace.

Roy doesn't expect they will ever hit that high, but it still is a good fundraiser for the hall.

The tickets are sold between 6 and 8 p.m., with the draw at 8:30 p.m.

The weekly fundraiser has also turned into a social event as well.

"Some people will come at 6 and stay for the whole evening. They play cards, play darts, the bar is open and the canteen is open," she says.

Not everyone stays she says, and some will buy their tickets and then come back in time for the draw.

"It's just a nice evening out. It's not a long or late evening," she says.

The funds they raise will go to operating and improving the community hall. 

Organizations: West Queens Recreation Centre

Geographic location: Noel

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