Iceout Page

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The Joe's Pond Iceout Contest

Iceout Update

The ice is out! The iceout date is 4/29/2014, and the time is 10:06 am. There are two winners, one is Kelsey Phillips from Iowa, and the other is Bill Brochu from Massachusetts. Each winner will receive $2925.00.

The iceout contest has closed for 2014.

Ticket Information

As of 7/1/2014 through 4/1/2015, use any of the following methods to get 2015 tickets:

Print Tickets Online Email JPA for Tickets Purchase Tickets Online (available 3/1/2015 through 4/1/2015)

OR:


You can get 2015 tickets as of 7/1/2014 through 4/1/2015 at Hastings Store in West Danville. 2015 tickets will be available at other outlets from 3/1/2015 through 4/1/2015. The list of outlets is as follows:

TOWNAVAILABLE ATDATES AVAILABLE
West DanvilleHasting's Store7/1/2014 through 4/1/2015
DanvilleMarty's 1st Stop, Diamond Hill3/1/2015 through 4/1/2015
St. JohnsburyCaplans, Natural Provisions, St. Jay Hardware3/1/2015 through 4/1/2015
St Johnsbury CenterThurston Auto, and The Tower3/1/2015 through 4/1/2015
BarreBarre Subway, Dente's Market, Hope Cemetery, Barre Optical, Berg Carmolli and Kent, and Yankee Clipper Barber Shop3/1/2015 through 4/1/2015
MontpelierWalker Volkswagon3/1/2015 through 4/1/2015
WillistonNatural Provisions3/1/2015 through 4/1/2015
MarshfieldMarshfield Village Store3/1/2015 through 4/1/2015
PlainfieldPlainfield Hardware3/1/2015 through 4/1/2015
CabotCabot Village Store, Harry's Hardware3/1/2015 through 4/1/2015
WaldenCorner Stop-Inn Shop3/1/2015 through 4/1/2015

Be sure to fill out each ticket stub carefully with your name and address so we will be able to contact you if you are a winner. Return ticket stub(s) with the proper amount of money to: JPA, P.O.Box 111, W Danville VT 05873. Tickets must be in or postmarked on 4/1/2011 at the latest (tickets can be submitted on 4/1). Good luck - and thanks for playing the game!

The Ice-Out Game and How it Grew

The Joe's Pond Ice-Out Contest is a result of cabin fever. In the 1980's, Joe’s Pond summer resident Jules Chatot, often visited his camp in the winter or early spring to ride snowmobiles, play cards and socialize with friends and family – it was like "deer camp" in the dead of winter, or "spring break" with snow, March blizzards and muddy roads.

The weather was a favorite topic of conversation when Jules and his friends went to West Danville for morning coffee at the Joe’s Pond Country Store or to pick up supplies at Hastings Store. Someone would always ask, "When do you think the ice is going out?"

To make life more interesting, wagers would often be made. When money was involved, Jules kept track of each guess in a pocket size notebook – and collected $1 for each bet. He was president of the Joe's Pond Association in 1987, when he and his buddies got the idea to turn the rapidly expanding friendly game into a real contest. Every year the ice went out a little differently, so they had to be creative in how to be fair about establishing an actual date and time.

yearly iceout times

After considerable discussion and innumerable ideas, they settled on a simple, low-tech control system that has been in use for over two decades: they placed an already well-used electric clock on Homer Fitts' deck, tethered it to a cinder block wired to a wooden pallet placed about 100 feet or so out on the ice just off the fishing access by the Fitts's camp. That was it. The clock was checked twice daily in the a.m. and p.m., and when the block went down, the clock was disconnected, stopping at the "official" ice-out time. Whoever guessed closest to the date and time the clock stopped won the contest.

That first year, April of 1988, there were only a few hundred people in the game. In 1990, 1500 tickets were sold, and Jules's daughter, Judy, set up a database to replace the shirt pocket notebook. The ever increasing database was turned over to a paid “data specialist” in 1994. The game has grown steadily over the years, and now there are well over 12,000 entries each year.

Several changes took place in 2013. The site for the pallet and flag was moved, and the old electric alarm clock, showing signs of age, was replaced with a special weather-proof clock. Both clock and pallet are now monitored by web cameras, and anyone can see them 24/7 by just going to the Joe’s Pond website. That was also the first year tickets could be purchased on line.

People all over the United States and some from overseas play the game. Proceeds after expenses are split, 50/50, between the winner(s) and Joe’s Pond Association (JPA). The JPA share is used to fund an annual free fireworks display to celebrate the Fourth of July.

There’s no exact science for winning the Joe’s Pond Ice-Out Contest – only Mother Nature knows how each spring will turn out – so everyone has an equal chance of picking the correct date and time to win about $5,000.

Past Chairs of the Ice Out Contest:

1988 – 2003 Don Walker
2004 – 2008 Dave Parker
2009 – present, Diane Rossi and Jane Brown

Past Winners, Dates and Times

Year Winner Town and State Date Time
1988 Edward Bird West Danville VT 4/26/88 12:31 p.m.
1989 Bob Kerschner Sun City FL 5/5/89 9:05 a.m.
1990 John Reilly Barre, VT 4/26/90 9:40 a.m.
1991 Scott Lazare Lido Beach NJ 4/22/91 4:16 a.m
1992 Charese McSheffrey Barre VT 5/6/92 1:19 p.m.
1993 Ray Strousos Barre VT 4/29/93 1:38 p.m.
1994 Jerome Bolkum Barre VT 5/4/94 12:12 p.m.
1995 Tom Buzzi Kent OH 4/23/95 2:50 p.m.
1996 Nancy Potter Plainfield VT 5/1/96 11:29 p.m.
1997 Ralph Bissell Walden VT 5/1/97 7:43 a.m.
1998 Andre Jenny Montpelier VT 4/16/98 6:41 p.m.
1999 Gilles Moreau East Barre VT 4/26/99 2:37 a.m.
2000 Tammy Hatch West Danville VT 4/30/00 6:19 a.m.
2001 Kay Scott St. Johnsbury VT 5/4/01 1:44 a.m.
2002 N. Mason

Jeff Temple

Stephen Bean

Charlene Zabek
Various 4/18/02 4:18 p.m.
2003 Brodie Frazier East Montpelier, VT 4/28/03 9:45 a.m.
2004 Janet & Richard Hazen South Hero, VT 4/21/04 3:25 p.m.
2005 G.D. Lanois Bonita Springs, FLA 4/21/05 2:50 p.m.
2006 Pam Desrochers

Frenchie Cutting

Lucille Dente
St Johnsbury VT

Swanton VT

Barre VT
04/16/06 3:20 p.m.
2007 Dr. Bob Marshall Montpelier, VT 5/1/07 4:45 p.m.
2008 Janet Egizi

Roxanne Gorham

Joe Kelly

Don Rogers
St Johnsbury VT

Lyndonville VT

Barre VT

Swartz Creek MI
4/25/08 5:25 p.m.
2009 Ash Desmond Richmond, VT 4/20/09 10:21 p.m.
2010 Bill Barber St Johnsbury, VT 4/05/10 2:46 p.m.
2011 Karen Brouillette Websterville, VT 4/27/11 10:17 p.m.
2012 Judy Lavely Danville, VT 4/8/12 5:25 p.m.
2013 Gary Clark Barre, VT 4/24/13 8:46 a.m.
2014 Kelsey Phillips

Bill Brochu
Iowa City, IA

Springfield, MA
4/29/14 10:06 a.m.
November 29, 2014
03:20 AM



2013 Living On Earth Coverage

WCAX 2013 Ice Out Coverage

3/26/2013 KIX Radio Interview

3/26/2013 WSTJ Radio Interview