The Summit County Rotarians have ice on their minds. No, they're not thinking about conditions on the slopes or even in their driveways. They're focused on the Ice Prince/Ice Princess competition, a yearly event dedicated to raising money for Rotary projects throughout the year.
The Ice Prince/Ice Princess contest started in 2004 and was designed to go hand-in-hand with the Ice Melt event, where an "ice device" is pushed out onto Dillon Reservoir and participants try to guess what date it will fall through. Rotarians Jay Bauer and Don Dew are credited with coming up with the idea of the Ice Prince/Ice Princess contest, which came about as an effort to add another element to the Ice Melt competition.
"They brought the idea to our Ice Melt committee and suggested we do it and we thought, 'That would be interesting,'" said Ann Clement, chairwoman of the Ice Melt and Ice Prince/Ice Princess competitions. "(We were) thinking about what things could be connected with the notion of ice and melting ice, and what would be fun."
Ice Prince and Ice Princess candidates, nominated by themselves or somebody else, work to raise money for the Rotary projects. By the end of the contest, the candidate who has raised the most is declared the winner. Last year's winner was Nancy Follett. This year has six contestants - Barb Calvin, Matt Miano, Brooke Roberts, Karn Stiegelmeier, Nancy Stone and Brandi Thompson.
It's up to the candidates how they will raise their money. It can be done in a number of ways, including selling tickets for the Ice Melt competition, soliciting donations in person and gathering votes. The Ice Prince/Ice Princess website allows viewers to make a donation by clicking to vote on the candidate of their choice.
"They do it in a variety of ways," Clement said of the candidates' fundraising efforts. "They're all very clever."
Although men and women can become candidates, there has only been one Ice Prince crowned at the end of the contest. Mike Dardi, of Fatty's Pizzeria, became the first Ice Prince in 2009. Dardi was only the second man ever to enter the contest, behind Bryan Batista in 2008. This year, the men are represented by Dillon events manager Matt Miano, who already has made his mark on the competition with his fundraising efforts, which included a bachelor's auction in Frisco last month.
"It did seem to go very well," he said of the event. "It was a pretty easy-going free-wheeling evening."
Miano said he hopes he can win the Ice Prince/Ice Princess event for the men again as a way to break down the gender barrier and hopefully get more men involved next year.
The proceeds from the Ice Prince/Ice Princess and the Ice Melt contests are distributed to various Rotary projects. On the education side, this includes college scholarships, Rotary Youth Leadership activities, literacy programs and youth ethics training. Rotary's hunger-fighting projects include the community dinner held every Tuesday at the Elks' Lodge and a free Thanksgiving dinner. Health-related projects include the 9Health Fair and supporting the Summit Community Care Clinic. Much of the money that goes to fund these projects comes from the Ice Melt and Ice Prince/Ice Princess contests.
"I'd say the barbecue and Ice Melt are probably our two biggest fundraisers," Clement said.
Last year, the Ice Prince/Ice Princess competition raised around $6,000. This year, the Rotary hopes to raise at least $7,000.
Aside from fundraising, the point of the contest is to have fun, Clement said.
"I think my favorite part, especially this year, is the camaraderie around these six candidates," she said. "It's a very collaborative contest as well as a competitive contest, which I think is neat."
Voting for Ice Prince/Ice Princess ends at 7:30 a.m. April 28. The coronation will take place at the Rotary breakfast meeting at 7:15 a.m. April 30 at the Frisco Community and Senior Center. To donate or find more information, visit www.summitrotaryicemelt.com.