By JoAnn Laird
Special to The PREVIEW
Spring has sprung and the Lake Hatcher ice melted enough to drop the 55-gallon barrel containing a clock into the depths of the lake. This proved bad news for the clock, but great news for three lucky people who won some serious money.
The contest was based on guessing the exact date, hour, minute and second that the ice would melt enough to drop the barrel in the water, thus stopping the clock.
Winning $1,000 for the closest guess was Brent Bailey. Second place, winning $500, was Al Myatt. Third place went to Jere Hill, winning $250.
Sounds like an easy contest, but there’s more than meets the eye. Getting the barrel on the lake’s 2-foot-thick ice in early March was a bit of a chore, as there’s always the chance of slipping and falling. Retrieving the barrel from the cold watery depths is another story.
The barrel initially dropped into the water on April 9, but extreme winds delayed the recovery until April 11, around 2 p.m. Under the watchful eye of Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Larson and Deputy Chief Karn Macht, a 20-foot rescue boat was launched with firefighters Josh Montoya and Daniel Cabrera.
Although tethered to the shore in case of an incident, two additional firemen, Jared Wirth and Lyle Hoffschneider, were at the ready, if needed, as required in the two-in, two-out rescue method. The barrel was swiftly and safely retrieved from the bottom of the lake and brought to shore.
All proceeds from this contest will go toward the Rotary Scholarship Fund for Pagosa Springs High School graduates. For over 20 years, Rotary has annually donated over $20,000 for higher education scholarships to deserving students. In 2018 alone, $28,000 was awarded.
When cabin fever sets in for 2020, as it surely will, this fun, profitable and rewarding contest will be back to help chase those blues away.