Each week, more than 500 people line up outside the Sarnia Legion hall hoping for a chance to win the wildly popular Chase the Ace raffle.
Last Thursday was no exception, when (with apologies to the U.S. Postal Service), neither snow nor rain stayed these hopefuls from gathering in their appointed queue.
First in line was Sarnia’s Marilyn Graham, who set up a lawn chair at the front door and waited outside seven hours to ensure tickets for the 5 p.m. draw.
With a jackpot of $27,102.60 up for grabs, Graham wasn’t alone in line for long.
Chase the Ace is a progressive multi-draw raffle. Each week the Legion sells 960 tickets at $2 each. The purchaser is limited to two, so normally the first 480 people in line get to play.
One ticket holder wins several hundred dollars when his or her number is drawn, then gets a chance to win the jackpot by picking an envelope containing a playing card.
If the ace of spades isn’t picked, the pot grows and the contest continues the following week.
The raffle has been a huge success for the Legion, Branch 62, which has seen memberships, attendance and revenues soar.
Contestants have come up empty-handed 48 straight weeks now, including last Thursday.
Which means this week’s ticket holder will be choosing from among just four remaining envelopes, knowing one of them holds the ace.