It was an unforgettable moment of tension and excitement when Mike Shouldice drew the ace of spades in Rankin Inlet on Jan. 5.and claimed the mammoth jackpot that had built up with the Chase the Ace fundraiser.
The competition was a joint effort between the hamlet’s volunteer fire department and recreation department.
The lucky pull of the ace represented a windfall of $82,870 for Shouldice, who couldn’t believe what had happened.
Shouldice said he had been buying tickets pretty much since the contest began.
He said every week he’d look up at the clock at about 6:15 p.m. and figure his ticket wasn’t drawn again, but that all changed on Jan. 5.
“The phone rang at about 5:30 p.m. and the conversation my wife, Monica, heard was: ‘Yeah? Great! Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m coming,’” said Shouldice.
“We hurried down to the community hall to join the big crowd of people, and I tried to hear the instructions over the noise of the crowd. It was great.”
Shouldice said as the recreation co-ordinator was giving him his instructions and the amount to be won, he was thinking the odds were still against him with about a dozen cards left in the deck, but that was one heck of a pile of money if he picked the right one.
He said he was caught up in the moment and was looking around for Monica to come and join him.
“I was thinking – as Monica came up to join me and it was time to pick the card – I should let my wife pick, and then I thought no, because if she doesn’t get it, she’s going to feel terrible.
“It’s not like anybody talks to you while all this is going on, so I committed myself to a card and that was it. Who would believe that, but, I guess, every dog has his day.”
Shouldice said since he picked the card, a number of people in the community have told him that’s the one they would have picked too because it was the seventh card put down, but he wasn’t thinking that at the time.
He said when the time came, his hand just shot out and picked that card.
“It reminded me of when I was in school for the last time and I was preparing for comprehensive exams,” he said.
“You had three sessions to write with four sets of questions and they laid playing cards out to pick the question you were going to answer, so what you picked, you got.”
Shouldice said he’s not a bingo guy, but he will buy tickets on a draw that has a really great prize.
He said although it was always nice that the money being raised was going towards a good cause, he was just like everyone else in that he was buying tickets because he wouldn’t mind winning that big chunk of cash.
“I want to give a little back to the community from my win, so I’ve committed to buying a nice prize for the next fishing derby,” he said.
“I’m not sure yet what the prize will be, but it will be a decent one for sure.
“People in the community have been super kind since my win, and my Facebook page was jammed for days with well-wishers. I’m glad it’s finally started to quiet down because I truly couldn’t keep up with it.”
Shouldice said someone even posted news about his win to the site of the high school he graduated from. He said it’s amazing how far something like this can go with today’s technology.
“As far as spending the money goes, Monica and I are thinking about a short list of things we need, want to do and have talked about, such as kitchen cabinets, a little green house and our cabin,” he said.
“There’s, most likely, more things you want than you have money for, so we’re trying to figure out the best thing to do with it and we’re not in any rush.
“It’s a huge amount of money and we’re grateful we won it, and the amount in that jackpot was way beyond what I thought I’d ever walk out of there with. I’m also pretty sure my adult kids won’t be shy now about asking for a nice birthday present here and there.”