For those who don't know, the Dillon Ice Melt Contest is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Summit County and gives locals a chance to guess when the ice will melt on Lake Dillon. The date and time of the big melt is measured by a device strapped to a barrel and hauled onto the lake by hovercraft. Once the device gets submerged the clock stops and we can find out who the big winner is.
Everybody has their own system to ensure victory, but ultimately Mother Nature makes the decisions on this one. One strategy is to look at when the ice melted in previous years. Last year the clock stopped ticking on May 13, and the year before it was on April 20. In most years since 1986, the contest was over by early to mid-May, but on rare occasions, like 2015, 2004 and 2002, the fun ended in late-April. A list of the winning days and times is available on the Summit Rotary's website at SummitRotaryEvents.com. You can also contact the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to get a breakdown of the winter temperatures and snowfall year by year, then carefully calculate the exact moment the ice will crack, or you could just guess your kid's birthday.
When it comes to picking the time, it appears that the afternoon and evening are your most likely times, including last year when the tick tock stopped at 1:10 p.m. And, yes, you do have to guess down to the second, and many years the contest is close enough to need this tiebreaker. The winner in 2015 came within 7 seconds of the actual time, so you know people mean business in this contest. If by some coincidence the second hand isn't enough to break a tie, you also have to fill out the high temperature for the day (hint: don't use Price is Right rules, 1 degree won't get you much). In reality, quantity might be your best bet. Buy a whole bunch of tickets and spread out your guesses or clump them to try and make sure your guess dominates a certain day or week. As long as you spend less than four grand, it still counts as winning, right? The Rotary club seems to encourage this particular method as you can buy one guess for $5, but if you want to venture 30 guesses it will only cost you $100.
Even if you don't manage to get right on the numbers, have no fear; while first place is awarded $4,000, second place garners $2,000 and third takes home $1,000. So track down your favorite local Rotarian or visit the group's website to get your chance at the bank, and remember the goat that got you there, unless of course you lose. Just be sure and hurry, the contest will close to guesses in April.