Popular East Coast fundraiser debuts in Rocky Mountain House

They are Chasing the Ace in Rocky Mountain House — and for those who don’t know what that is, just ask anyone from Nova Scotia.

They are Chasing the Ace in Rocky Mountain House — and for those who don’t know what that is, just ask anyone from Nova Scotia.

The hugely successful East Coast 50-50 type of fundraiser is making its debut in Rocky to help raise funds for a children’s spray park and the local Kinsmen club.

A 62-year-old grandmother from Sydney, N.S., won $2.9 million last Saturday when her ticket was drawn for a fundraiser there was drawn. It remains to be seen whether the Rocky version of Chase the Ace will take off like it has in Eastern Canada.

Carie Liebig, president of the Rocky Spray Park Council, said Thursday that one of the their executive members has a Nova Scotia friend who suggested they try the fundraising system out.

Liebig said they have a raffle ticket licence from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, but if the lottery gets to be over $10,000 they will need to apply for a different licence.

The way it works is, tickets are sold during the Clearwater Farmers’ Market every Thursday for $2 each, or three for $5. They will sell from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and the draw is that same day, 15 minutes before the market closes. Winners must be present.

Fifty per cent of sales go to the spray park council and Kinsmen club. The winner gets 20 per cent of the pot from tickets sold that day and the remaining 30 per cent goes into a progressive jackpot.

Then the winner gets a second chance to draw the ace of spades from a deck of 52 cards, and if successful, gets the jackpot. If not, the progressive jackpot continues to grow, and chances of winning it increase, as a card is drawn each week. One draw in Nova Scotia went 44 weeks.

Liebig said they did their first draw Saturday, during a cabaret. The winner got $375 and had she also drawn the ace, would have received a further $562.

The council has been fundraising for about three years for a spray park that will cost $600,000. So far they’ve raised $60,000. The park will be located south of the Lou Soppit Community Centre beside the skate park on land that has been donated, said Liebig.

They are hoping their Chase the Ace takes off like it has in Nova Scotia and then they could easily come up with the rest of the money needed for the spray park.

The Nova Scotian who won is one of several people who have won big jackpots there. Kathy McPherson has worked off and on over the years in the Alberta oilpatch, in both Fort Saskatchewan and Fort McMurray. She said she would be donating some of the winnings to help the Fort McMurray wildfire victims.

In one Nova Scotian Chase the Ace, a small community was so heavily innundated by people coming to buy tickets when the pot reach over $1 million, they had to change the rules and do a final draw due to traffic and safety concerns.

If someone pulls the ace in Rocky, they’ll do another draw and keep running it as long as people are interested, Liebig said.

More information, including rules, can be found on the Facebook page “Rocky’s Chase the Ace.”

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

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