- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Charles Zimmerman of Manley Hot Springs is among the many winners of the Nenana Ice Classic who will receive a piece of this year’s record jackpot of more than $363,000.

Altogether, there are 25 winning tickets in the popular annual guessing game.

Zimmerman’s share comes to almost $14,600 before taxes, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (https://is.gd/v4C9bJ ). After taxes, the 61-year-old telephone technician’s take is slightly less than $10,475.

Zimmerman plans to spend most of his winnings on working on “toys,” such as trucks and bulldozers.

When ice classic organizers notified him Monday that he was one of the winners, he didn’t get too excited about his first win in game he’s been playing since 1978.

“What’s to get excited about?” Zimmerman said. “I get to pay extra taxes.”

To win, people have to guess the date and exact time the ice will break up in the Tanana River in the interior town of Nenana. Each guess takes a $2.50 ticket.

The ice broke up this year on April 25 at 3:48 p.m. Alaska Standard Time.

This year’s jackpot of $363,627 is the largest in the classic’s 98-year history.

Judi Moss of Fairbanks has been playing the game for 35 years and finally submitted a winning guess. She said she’d be more excited had the jackpot not been split among so many, and for a date that never won before.

“Why did so many people pick a date the ice had never gone out before?” she said. “You’d think it never went out on that day nobody’d be picking it. “

Even though so many people had winning tickets, the number of ticket holders is not a record, according to ice classic organizers.

There were a record 58 winning tickets in 1973, according to ice classic manager Cherrie Forness. In 2005, there were 46 winning tickets, 29 winning tickets in 1950 and 25 winning tickets in 1984.

The popular game draws entries from across the state and elsewhere. Winning tickets this year came from communities around Alaska, as well as a winning ticket from Boise, Idaho, and one from Baker City, Oregon.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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