The Hagersville Lions are hedging their bets and printing 30,000 tickets for this week’s wildly popular Catch the Ace fundraising draw.
The jackpot total for the draw is an estimated $151,000 after last week’s winner, Rob Davey, failed to find the elusive ace of spades – but still went home with just over $20,000 in prize money.
“It’s unbelievable,” club president Dan Matten said of the ballooning jackpot. “The last four weeks it took off like a rocket.”
Catch the Ace, a modified 50/50 lottery, has become a common way for service clubs to raise money. Half the funds raised by the Hagersville Lions go to various local causes, including the West Haldimand Hospital Foundation, the Hagersville Food Banks and to projects supported by the club.
For the draw, a deck of cards is put into envelopes and randomly numbered one to 52. Participants write an envelope number on their ticket. It their ticket is drawn they get 20 per cent of the ticket sale revenue. Then their envelope is opened. If it’s the ace of spades, they also win the jackpot. If not, 30 per cent of ticket sale revenue is added to the jackpot and the same thing happens the following week.
The game ends when the ace is found. But in Hagersville, the fun continues.
“Every week more people learn about it and we sell more tickets,” said Matten. “There is a chance to win some serious funds.”
He said they sold out 15,000 tickets for last week’s draw and, just to be safe, they are printing 30,000 for the next draw on Thursday.
This is the second time the Hagersville Lions have organized a Catch the Ace draw. The first one, held in 2019, was interrupted by the pandemic with the ace eventually being drawn on Week 20.
Gail Catherwood helps organize Catch the Ace for the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise. Every week they sell 500 tickets at $5 each for a total of $2,500.
“This is our sixth license and it has been very successful because all the money stays in Norfolk and is given to the non-profits in the area,” said Catherwood. “All the money has to be spent before another license is given.”
The Port Dover Legion helps sells tickets for the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise and the weekly draws are held at the legion.
The last draw, on Jan. 13, was Week 33. The ace wasn’t found but, if it had been, it would have been worth $23,700.
The Hagersville Legion also is a partner, with Lions Club tickets being sold and drawn there. Matten said tickets must be picked up in person and only cash is accepted. Tickets will be sold at the legion, 5 Alema St., on Thursday between 2:30 pm and 7:50 pm with the draw at 8 pm Tickets are $10 or three for $20.
“We needed to increase our manpower (at the legion),” said Matten of the demand for tickets. “We keep a quick and steady flow.”
He said other Lions Clubs have approached him about how to set up their own Catch the Ace draws.
“The excitement and anticipation is crazy,” said Matten. “It really gives me great pleasure.”