Warm weather boosts ticket sales in Alaska ice guessing game

NENANA, Alaska (AP) — An annual guessing game in Alaska involving a tripod and melting ice is generating a flurry of late ticket sales.

A store and gas station in Nenana have each sold at least 2,000 tickets and ordered extras for the Nenana Ice Classic, the Daily News-Miner reported Thursday.

Early warm weather has boosted ticket sales before the Friday deadline in the town about 57 miles (92 kilometers) southwest of Fairbanks, the newspaper reported.

Participants pay $2.50 to guess of the day, hour and minute the Tanana River ice will break up and cause a tripod to topple.

The event began in 1917 as a bet among railroad engineers waiting for ice to break up. It has paid out more than $14 million in its history.

A team of three began monitoring the tripod 24 hours a day Thursday when the official clock was attached, the newspaper reported. Projected temperatures of 50 degrees this weekend could hasten the end of the game.

"It's a real game changer," lifelong Nenana resident Marilyn Duggar said of the higher temperatures.

The earliest the tripod has fallen is April 20, in both 1940 and 1998, but the newspaper reported that residents have mixed ideas about this year's winning date.

"Ticket sales have increased quite a bit, so they (ticket buyers) think it's going out early," said Cherrie Forness, the event manager.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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