Ice melt contest goes to tiebreaker |

Ice melt contest goes to tiebreaker

Christine McManus

DILLON – Rotary Ice Melt Contest judges had to resort to tie-breaker rules to determine this year’s three winners, who all picked times within seconds of first place.

The official ice melt time on Dillon Reservoir was 11:07:13 p.m. on April 29, said contest organizer Susan Juergensmeier. The clocks dropped into the water and stopped working just before midnight, sealing the fate of the three cash prizes.

“In the time I’ve been organizing the contest we’ve never had the winning guesses so close to each other,” said Juergensmeier. “The difference between first and third place was only two seconds. For the first time ever, we had to call up Denver Water to get the high temperature of the day for the tiebreaker, as stipulated in the rules.”

Both Mary Jo Drye of Silverthorne and Jeff Hill of Dillon guessed that the mechanical clocks would drop from the ice into the water at 11:23:23 p.m. on April 29. Their guesses both overshot the official ice melt time by 16 minutes and 10 seconds.

Drye’s guess on the high temperature for the day was 52 degrees. Hill guessed 42 degrees.

The Denver Water station in Dillon reported a high temperature of 58 degrees on April 29, Juergensmeier said, making Drye the first-place winner of $2,000.

“I’m so excited. This was a great way to start my day,” said Drye, manager of the Design Center at Bighorn Ace Hardware in Silverthorne. “I’ve bought ice melt tickets before because it’s such a fun contest and the money goes to a great cause. But I think this might be the second time I’ve ever won anything in my life.”

For second place, Hill won $750 in the contest out of more than 6,000 contestants.

Hill is the Keystone Ski Patrol director and in the summer works as a golf pro at the River Course at Keystone. He is out of the county and could not be contacted.

Robin Christianson, who works with Drye at the Bighorn Ace Hardware in Silverthorne, won the third-place prize of $500. Christianson’s guess – 10:51:01 p.m. on April 29 – was 16 minutes and 12 seconds before the official ice melt time.

Had Christianson’s guess been just three seconds later, he would have won first place.

This year, contest organizers decided to give prizes to the six runners-up. Barbara Schneeman, Jim Jensen, Flo Raitano, Price Trosin, Keith Williams, Gary Walters and Shelby Almcott all won 10 Buck-a-Bone tickets for the Barbecue at the Summit the weekend of Aug. 13-14 in Dillon. The barbecue event is also a fundraiser for the Rotary Foundation of Summit County.

Ice melt contestants from all over the country paid $2 per entry. The official ice melt time was one of the earliest in the 19-year history of the contest.

Rotarians expect proceeds to top the $10,000 raised in last year’s contest for student scholarships, Juergensmeier said.

Drye said she has not decided how to spend the entire prize winnings, but she suspects she will buy something nice for herself. She guessed three times in this year’s contest.

And what was her strategy?

“It was just a guess. But I do know that spring has been a little warmer the past several years,” Drye said. “I never thought I’d win.”

-Christine McManus

Christine McManus can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229 or at

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