A screenshot from the livestream of the Meteghan Fire Department Chase the Ace.
SOUTHWESTERN N.S. – A lot of people are chasing aces in two communities in southwestern Nova Scotia, with jackpots of over $350,000 up for grabs in both places.
The Meteghan Volunteer Fire Department has 13 cards left and the River Hills Golf and Country Club in Clyde River has six cards left.
When River Hills Golf and Country Club first decided to start a Chase the Ace, Lesa O’Connell said the club worried about recouping the initial $200 they had to put into the jackpot to get it started.
“The club didn’t have an excess of $200,” she said. “We were concerned our budget couldn’t handle it.”
Not in a million years did they expect the jackpot to reach the level it has. She said the small group of organizers that started the fundraiser has grown to 80 volunteers who deal with all the logistics of having a successful Chase the Ace.
“It is an amazing group,” she said. “It is a lot of work but also a lot of fun.”
The last Chase the Ace held on Saturday, Aug. 5, saw ticket sales for the week of $164,816. Chase the Ace tickets are $1 each. The winning ticket holder was Pamela Muise. The six of hearts was drawn, but she still won $32,963. Had the ace of spades been drawn that night, the winning amount would have been $387,963.
The next Chase the Ace draw will be Saturday, Aug. 19.
O’Connell said the money raised through the Chase the Ace will support the club’s junior golf program.
“The junior membership is the future of our golf course,” she said.
They haven’t spent much of the money raised so far, but have discounted membership for juniors, offered free golf lessons for youth on Tuesday mornings and have provided free use of the driving range for juniors.
Every week as the jackpot has continued to grow the standard draw containers could no longer support the amount of tickets being purchased. The tickets are now mixed in a fish tub.
“What better way to celebrate Cape Island style than a fish box,” said O’Connell.
METEGHAN FIRE DEPARTMENT
When the Meteghan Fire Department first began its Chase the Ace, it hoped to raise enough funds to spruce up their well-used gym for members.
This is their third run at the fundraiser. The first two didn’t last long. But the third time’s the charm for Meteghan, which is now at over $350,000, with 13 cards remaining.
“It has the potential to go a lot higher,” said firefighter and organizer Mitchell Hicks.
The Chase the Ace is held Wednesday evenings. On the last draw date of Aug. 2 ticket sales for the week had reached $101,525. The winning ticket holder Earl Crocker won $20,305 after the ace of clubs was drawn. It’s the ace of spades that wins.
Hicks said money raised through this Chase the Ace is being spent along the way. The department recently purchased four sets of bunker gear, new breathing apparatuses and gym equipment.
“We are trying to buy things that the municipality can’t,” said Hicks. “They only have so much budget.”
They have 150 people helping to organize the weekly Chase the Ace with nine locations selling tickets all week.
“I don’t want the ace pulled until the very last card,” he said. “It’s good for the department and the community…anything can happen.”
The Chase the Ace draws at both locations are live-streamed.
PREVIOUS ACE SUCCESS:
Last year the Chase the Ace organized as a fundraiser by the West Pubnico Legion saw great success. The chase ended on Oct. 28, 2016, when Jeanne Spinney drew the ace of spades, winning $415,455 that was divided between herself and her two children. From start to finish 1,280,000 tickets were sold in this Chase the Ace. Over $600,000 was raised for the legion.