Ice Pick To Return This Winter

BEMUS POINT – There is a returning ice competition area residents will be able to enjoy soon, and it’s not hockey.

The Chautauqua Lake Ice Pick contest will be held again this year. Based on a successful Alaskan tradition, the Chautauqua Lake Ice Pick is a fundraiser where people predict exactly what time and date a tripod placed on the ice will fall into the lake this spring.

The contest’s inaugural year was 2011, when $8,000 was raised to benefit the Chautauqua Lake Association. However, in 2012, due to unseasonably warmer temperatures, the contest was canceled.

Peter Sullivan, event organizer, said no exact date has been set for when the ice pick will be placed on Chautauqua Lake. However, he said it should be done by the end of January.

”I would say (the week of Jan. 20). Based on the forecast, it is supposed to get cold again. We will give the ice time to get cold again before we do it,” he said.

Sullivan said the ice pick will be placed near The Larson Center in Bemus Point. During the first contest, the ice pick was placed near the Bemus Point-Stow Ferry in Stow. Sullivan said the location has changed because people at The Larson Center can help watch the ice pick.

”We’re also going to have a webcam where people can go online and click on the camera and see the tripod sitting on the ice,” he said about the ice pick’s website, www.clakeicepick.org. ”Last time, we had to run over by the ferry and check it every day, but, this time, there will be people at The Larson Center monitoring it.”

The idea for the event was brought back by Sullivan, who traveled to Nenana, Alaska, and witnessed an event held annually to predict when the ice breaks. The Alaskan tradition started as people awaited for the ice to break on the Tanana River, which would mean the start of supplies coming their way. Although Alaskans may not be as dependent upon the ice breaking to get supplies now, the guessing is still carried on as thousands of dollars are raised for charity.

Sullivan transformed the idea into a fundraiser for the CLA, with BOCES classes constructing the tripod that is connected to a clock to mark the exact time the ice cracks on Chautauqua Lake. In the inaugural contest in 2011, Greg Peterson won by correctly guessing 9:37 a.m. on March 18. The money collected from guesses will be split between the CLA and the contest winner. Each guess costs $5.

”I hope we can get $10,000,” Sullivan said. ”People can go on the website and can print a ticket and send us a check or they can use their (credit card) right online. Hopefully, there will be multiple chances from each player.”

Sullivan said the contest is ”off and running” because a private foundation has already donated $5,000 toward the competition.