Posted by JoAnn Laird
BY: JoAnn Laird
Spring is sprung and the Lake Hatcher ice melted enough to drop the fifty-five gallon barrel, containing a clock, to the depths of the lake.  This proved bad news for the clock but great news for three lucky people who won some serious money.
The contest was based on guessing the exact date, hour, minute and second that the ice would melt enough to drop the barrel in the water, thus stopping the clock. Winning $1,000 for the closest guess was Brent Bailey, second place, winning $500, was Al Myatt and third place went to Jere Hill, winning $250.
Sounds like an easy contest but there's more than meets the eye. Getting the barrel on the lake's two foot thick ice in early March was a bit of a chore, as there's always the chance of slipping and falling. Retrieving the barrel from the cold watery depths is another story.
The barrel initially dropped on April 10 but extreme winds delayed the recovery until April 11, around 2:00. Under the watchful eye of Chief Larson and Deputy Chief Karn Macht, a twenty foot Rescue Boat was launched with firemen Josh Montoya and Daniel Cabrera. Although tethered to the shore in case of an incident, two additional firemen, Jared Wirth and Lyle Hoffschneider were at the ready, if needed, as required in the two in, two out rescue method. This method proved the right choice for these highly trained firemen, as the barrel was swiftly and safely brought to shore.
In addition to Pagosa Fire and Paramedic Department, the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club, in cooperation with the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association (PLPOA) would like to thank The Pagosa Sun, KWUF Radio, Chokecherry Tree, the Chamber of Commerce and Al Myatt
for providing services that helped make their First Annual Ice Melt Contest a success.
All proceeds from this contest will go toward the Rotary Scholarship Fund for Pagosa Springs High School graduates.  For over 20 years, Rotary has annually donated over $20,000 for higher education scholarships to deserving students. In 2018 alone, $28,000 was awarded.
When cabin fever sets in for 2020, as it surely will, this fun, profitable and rewarding contest will be back to help chase those blues away.