Ice Out Page
Welcome to Joe's Pond Vermont
The Joe's Pond Ice Out Contest
If you have an ice out question, click here.
The Clock is Running
Tickets are $1 per ticket except when you use your credit card to buy tickets online. In that case, you must buy 10 tickets, and the total cost for the 10 tickets is $10.
Do not enter the same date and time on more than one ticket. If you select the same date and time more than once, only one of your same dates and times will be valid in this contest.
You can get 2018 tickets at our outlet stores. The list of outlets is as follows:
|TOWN||AVAILABLE AT||DATES AVAILABLE|
|West Danville||Hastings Store||7/1/17 through 4/1/2018|
|Danville||Marty's 1st Stop, Barrel to Bottle, Azalea Sun||3/1/2018 through 4/1/2018|
|St. Johnsbury||Caplans, Natural Provisions, Aubuchon Hardware||3/1/2018 through 4/1/2018|
|St Johnsbury Center||Thurston Auto, and The Tower||3/1/2018 through 4/1/2018|
|Barre||Dente's Market, Barre Optical||3/1/2018 through 4/1/2018|
|Montpelier||Walker Volkswagon, and Yankee Clipper Barber Shop||3/1/2018 through 4/1/2018|
|Williston||Natural Provisions||3/1/2018 through 4/1/2018|
|Marshfield||Marshfield Village Store||3/1/2018 through 4/1/2018|
|Plainfield||Plainfield Hardware||3/1/2018 through 4/1/2018|
|Cabot||Cabot Village Store, Harry's Hardware||3/1/2018 through 4/1/2018|
|Cabot||Cabot Visitor Center & Tours||7/1/2017 through 4/1/2018|
|Walden||Corner Stop-Inn Shop||3/1/2018 through 4/1/2018|
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 at the latest (tickets can be submitted on 4/1). Good luck - and thanks for playing the game!
NOTE: in the event of equipment failure, the iceout committee will determine the time of iceout.
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.
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.
Some 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. 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.|
|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.|
|St Johnsbury VT
|2007||Dr. Bob Marshall||Montpelier, VT||5/1/07||4:45 p.m.|
|St Johnsbury VT
Swartz Creek MI
|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.|
|Iowa City, IA
|2015||Mary Numa||West Haven CT||4/29/15||6:14 p.m.|
|2016||Pamela Swift||Barre, VT||4/12/16||5:04 p.m.|
|2017||Emily Wiggett||North Danville, VT||4/23/17||4:32 p.m.|