DANVILLE- The 2016 Ice-Out Contest on Joe’s Pond has come an end, as a local resident will bring home about $5,000 in winnings. University of Vermont Student Pamela Swift of Barre, Vermont casted the winning ticket, as the clock stopped at 5:04 pm on Tuesday, April 12.
The time of the "ice-out" is determined from a clock that sits on a deck near on the pond, and is attached to a cinder block wired to a wooden pallet which sits about 100 feet off-shore. Once the structure goes under the water, the wire detaches and stops the clock, giving the official time of when the ice "goes out."
The contest began over thirty years ago, as Joe’s Pond summer resident Jules Chatot and a group of friends would often talk about when the “ice would go out” on the pond. After a small group began to take one dollar bets on when the ice would disappear, the game began to grow.
In 1988 the first official competition was held, with a few hundred people participating. Chatot’s daughter, Judy, created a database where people’s guesses were stored, replacing a notebook that once held all the information.
The contest continued to grow, as in 1990 about 1,500 tickets were sold. In recent years, there are an average of over 12,000 entries every season.
New additions were made to the operations of the contest in 2013. A weather-proof clock replaced an older electric alarm clock, and a web-camera was setup the live-stream 24/7 on the Joe’s Ponds Website. Online ticket purchases also became available in 2013, allowing people from across the world to participate in the contest. Residents in Florida, Ohio, and Michigan have won the prize in the past.
The contest is 50/50, as the winner receives half of the total earnings, and the Joe’s Pond Association receives the other half.
This is the first time a Vermonter has one the contest since 2013, where Vermont residents dominated the winnings from 2006 to 2013.
A small ceremony will take place in May at the Public Fishing Access at Joe’s Pond.