Nenana Ice Classic tripod falls

Top photo: Nenana Ice Classic tripod is seen in this screenshot from the http://www.nenanaakiceclassic.com/ website at 4:47 p.m. Friday. The tripod fell a minute later. The bottom photo was taken 15 minutes later, with the tripod already drifting downstream. 

FAIRBANKS - The Nenana Ice Classic clock stopped ticking at 3:48 p.m. Alaska Standard Time on Friday, when the world's most-watched tripod tumbled into the Tanana River and headed downstream.

If you were looking at your watch, the tripod tumbled at 4:48 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time, but by tradition, the Ice Classic uses Alaska Standard Time, an hour earlier.  This is the first time in the history of the race that the ice went out on April 25.

The ticket that is closest to the official time will collect an unprecedented jackpot this year — a record $363,627.

Started in 1917, The 98-year-old Ice Classic is Alaska's version of the lottery. Each year, thousands of residents buy tickets to guess the date and time — to the minute — that the Tanana River ice in Nenana will go out. The tickets are collected in trademark red buckets from locations throughout Alaska and hand tallied.

There's no official word on who holds the winning tickets, and Ice Classic officials say not to expect one particularly soon. Ice Classic manager Cherrie Forness said contest officials were only about halfway done counting entries on Friday. 

She said it would probably be about a week before that process is complete.

"It's gonna be awhile," Forness said. "We have a lot of tickets."

Contact staff writer Jeff Richardson at 459-7518. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMbusiness.

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