By Mike Renzella
The Haldimand Press
HAGERSVILLE—Are you picking up a ticket (or 10) for this week’s Catch The Ace? You’ll want to consider it before it’s too late. This year’s fundraiser, a joint effort between Hagersville Lions and the Hagersville Rocks committee, is set to break some local records, with the jackpot now exceeding $111,000 with 19 spaces left on the board.
Hagersville Lions President Dan Matten is thrilled by the success, saying that ticket sales have grown “exponentially” as the jackpot crossed earlier milestones.
“Nearly every week we have to adjust our set up to accommodate the increasing number of people,” said Matten, thanking the Legion for being “exceptionally welcoming and helpful” in hosting the weekly draw.
“We are so overjoyed to see the excitement and participation of the community and people near and far. It has been a fast-growing journey in the last weeks, but we are more than glad to hold Catch the Ace because we are, after all, raising funds for our designated causes.”
While the big jackpot remains up for grabs, each weekly winner takes home 20% of that week’s earnings, with last week’s winner Melissa Timson taking home $13,339.
Matten said that Timson watched the draw on Facebook and immediately “turned off the stove, put on her coat, and walked over to the Legion.… She had tears in her eyes and was simply stunned.”
The inspiration behind the fundraiser came from the very first Catch the Ace lottery, held in a small town in Nova Scotia in 2015, that saw the jackpot climb to $1.7 million before a winner was crowned.
“I read about that and thought that this would be a great fundraiser for us Lions,” said Matten, noting the Chamber of Commerce agreed it was a great plan.
The group’s first attempt at Catch The Ace was complicated by the pandemic, beginning in December 2019 and not finishing until October 2020. The inaugural winner walked away with $10,158 – a far cry from the estimated (and growing) $111,211 up for grabs this week.
Tickets are only available in-person at the Hagersville Legion between 2:30 to 7:50 p.m. each Thursday, with the weekly draw taking place at 8 p.m. You can watch the draw on the Hagersville Lions Facebook page, but Matten said those watching from home are missing out on a great celebration.
“It takes me usually a minute or even longer to get everyone’s attention because everybody has such a good time,” said Matten, adding that it’s incredibly silent when people are waiting to hear the winner’s name. “The expectations, the hope, the anticipation and the tension is so high the room vibrates with it. Once I announce the card there is a burst of applause, whooping, and shouting – a release of adrenaline. You have to be there to experience it. It’s just fantastic.”
There’s good reason to cheer, as Catch the Ace is raising some big money for local causes, including West Haldimand Hospital and Healthcare Foundation, Hagersville Food Bank, and the Lions themselves to continue their work in the community.
“We could not do it without the support of the Hagersville Legion and the participation of our community,” said Matten. “Thank you for coming and playing with us. Without you there would not be a Catch the Ace.”
With such great success, Matten promised the Lions “are definitely planning on Round 3 once we have a winner for Round 2.”