The Queen of Hearts raffle jackpot that will be up for grabs Wednesday night at the American Legion post is expected to exceed $325,000, according to organizers.
The routine is likely to be the same as it has been for the last few weeks when the prize money rose to levels where even bank presidents might be envious. If you’re planning to be there, arrive early at the legion hall at 533 E. Legion Drive or be prepared to hike quite a bit.
More than 6,000 people have registered for the raffle and at least 1,000 are likely to show up, which means the legion building, which has been temporarily expanded by the addition of a tent that adjoins on the ground level, will be jammed.
Fire department restrictions could mean that some will have to remain outside when the big drum stops being rotated and a small child reaches into the pile of more than 60,000 tickets sold in just one week to select the one person who will try for the big prize by selecting the queen of hearts from the remaining five face down playing cards. Just having a ticket selected for the queen draw is worth $500 in prize money.
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The raffle, which has been the talk of Nashville for weeks, started in January. The pot rolled over each week that the queen remained elusive as the pot grew and grew.
The legion leaders will keep 10 percent of the overall take and that money will be used to renovate the legion building, including the construction of a handicapped accessible restroom and expanding the bar area.
The raffle in Nashville is similar to drawings in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky that have resulted in jackpots in the millions of dollars.
The rules require that ticket sales be cut off at 7 p.m. tonight. Each ticket costs $1 and some contestants have purchased hundreds. A sequential number is given to each new contest member and that number must be written on the back of each ticket. It corresponds to a master log book where the number matches the contestant’s name and phone number.
To win the entire pot, the contest member must be present. If he or she is not present, then a phone call is made and the person can tell contest organizer Dan Heggemier which card should be picked. The face down cards have numbers on the back. If you are not present, you get half the pot.
Last week, Bob Detmer’s ticket was selected from the big drum. He got a phone call at his Bartelso home and said which card he wanted picked. Heggemeier took that card, laid it down on a table, and used a razor to cut away the covering. It was the five of clubs.
The drawing is at approximately 7:30 p.m.