By John Matonich
I am not much of a contest participant, but I know many folks are. I don’t think I have ever sent an entry to the Publisher Clearing House or any of the other contests that are seen on TV or that come in the mail. Here locally, I believe there is always one going on and some of them are pretty unique.
One of the small towns close to where I live has a nice lake in the community and the local Rotary club has had a similar contest for many years involving the lake and a large tire from a piece of construction equipment. It takes place about this time of year every year but usually ends sooner than it will this year.
Some of the local Rotarians slide the tire out onto the ice as soon as the weather starts to warm up and the snow begins to diminish. The goal of the contest is to have the winning entry on when the tire will fall through the ice. I believe the entries need to include the month, day, hour and even minute as to when the contestant feels the tire will be heading to the bottom of the lake. The tire has a rope attached to it, so it comes back up from the bottom when the contest is over and will be used again next year.
There are a number of prizes for those who get closest to the actual time and the contest is supported by a lot of local businesses. It is kind of cool to drive by the lake and see the tire and whether it seems to be sitting on solid ice or perhaps its seat is getting a little precarious.
I was listening to one of the members of the Rotary Club on the radio the other day and he was mentioning that in years past the club would ask the assistance of the local State Police Post which is located in sight of the tire to make note of when the tire called it a year and sank out of site. Given the post is manned 24/7, it was a good way to have a reasonably accurate recording of the actual time.
He went on to explain that they actually moved into the technology era and the tire has a number of instruments on it as well as a camera facing it and they are able to get to a pretty precise number on when the tire heads under and the winner can be determined. I thought it was pretty cool that this kind of attention was being directed to the tire, but I guess those folks who take part wouldn’t want the information to be tainted in any way and the true winner be known. I am not exactly sure what the prizes are, but I guess a couple of pasties from the local bakery makes the investment into technology well worth it. I know I would rather have the pasties than the check every week from the Publishers Clearing House. I like pasties a lot and they don’t draw anywhere near the attention that PCH does.
And that’s the situation as I survey it.
After a 35-year career downstate livin’ amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.
Image credit: Ryan Dickey