By JoAnn Laird
Special to The PREVIEW
Spring is sprung and the Lake Hatcher ice melted enough to drop the 55-gallon barrel containing a clock to 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. According to the clock reading, this happened on March 26 at 3:53 and 41 seconds. Missing the exact time by an astonishing two minutes and 15 seconds and winning $1,000 for the closest guess was Lisa Gamber; second place, winning $500, was Dawn Eggleston; and third place went to Warren Brown, 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 late in early February 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.
An unsuccessful attempt to retrieve the barrel happened on March 27, but not to be deterred, the recovery happened on March 31. Under the watchful eye of Chief Randy Larson and Deputy Chief Karn Macht of the Pagosa Fire Protection District, a 20-foot rescue boat was launched with firemen Lyle Hoffschneider and Anthony Ferguson. Although tethered to the shore in case of an incident, two additional firemen were at the ready, if needed, as required in the two in, two out rescue method. This method proved the right choice for these highly trained firemen, as the barrel was swiftly and safely retrieved from the lake and brought to shore.
All proceeds from this contest will go toward the Rotary Scholarship Fund for Pagosa Springs High School graduates.
When cabin fever sets in for 2021, as it surely will, this fun, profitable and rewarding contest will be back to help chase those blues away.