It’s official. The Kuskokwim River in front of Bethel has broken. The Kuskokwim Ice Classic tripod sunk through the ice, stopping the clock at 7:51 p.m. on Wednesday. With that, the competition designated three lucky winners to take home thousands of dollars in prize money.
Lilly Carter of Kwigillingok and Ben Kuntz of Bethel are splitting the $12,500 jackpot for guessing the closest time to when the clock would stop. Both nailed their predictions on their winning tickets when they wrote down 7:51 p.m. on May 2, 2018. Carter says she will use her winnings to pay bills. Kuntz is donating most of the money to Bethel nonprofits, like KYUK, and might test his lucky streak by buying a few raffle tickets.
In the “Minute Madness” competition, William Savo of Dillingham struck gold to the tune of $10,000 for nabbing minute 51. This contest is limited to the first 60 people who buy a ticket; each holds a specific minute. Savo and his wife have been discussing buying a car, and the prize money will help them get a new ride.
Savo coaches wrestling in Dillingham and frequently travels to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta for tournaments. This was Savo’s first year buying Kuskokwim Ice Classic tickets after purchasing Nenana Ice Classic tickets for many years.
Bethel will celebrate the beginning of spring with its annual Break Up Bash. The bash will begin on the river front at 5 p.m. on Friday to avoid conflicting with the UAF - Kuskokwim University Campus graduation on Thursday.
Thousands of hot dogs will be served while local performers take the stage. The lineup so far includes the Bethel Regional High School Yup’ik Dancers and Mike McIntyre and Friends.
For only the second time, the Kuskokwim Ice Classic tripod has been recovered. It didn’t travel far before it was found on Joe Lomack Beach. So next year, you can expect to see the same, colorful tripod standing in front of Bethel again.