The official 2016 Kuskokwim Ice Classic breakup time is exactly 11:30 PM on Wednesday, April 20th. Two winners, Olinka Peterson and Evon Waska, Sr., both of Bethel, will split the pot of $10,000. They each guessed 11:25 pm. on the 20th.
This was an unusual year for the Ice Classic. For one, this marks the earliest breakup in recorded history. The earliest recorded breakup prior to this year was April 24, 1940. There were also more than 10,000 guesses, the greatest volume of participation documented in Ice Classic archives. In another “first”, this year also marked the first time a tripod was reused. The 2015 tripod, designed by LKSD STEM students to represent Yup’ik culture, was recovered slightly downriver by Eric Whitney, who had constructed the tripod based on the students’ design. Eric kayaked to the tripod and secured it for a later recovery after the ice cleared the river.
Early breakup and the unexpected increase in participation created a massive amount of work in processing guesses in time to be prepared for a winner announcement within hours of breakup. A devoted team of volunteers and staff worked days and nights this week to ensure that a winner announcement could be made immediately.
The winner of the Ice Classic is determined by the closest guess to the time of breakup without guessing past the official time- in other words, if there isn’t a guess at the exact time of breakup, the next earliest guess (or guesses) -preceding breakup- wins. The time of breakup is determined by the moment the tripod movement causes the clock to stop. This year, the mechanism that stops the clock quit just short of triggering the primary clock, activating the secondary official timekeeper: the webcam time stamp. This secondary mechanism has been in place for 3 years and like the Ice Classic clocks, is synced to universal atomic time. You can watch breakup occurring on the webcam time lapse here at our website.
Youth groups in the Y-K Delta benefit from the Kuskokwim Ice Classic. This year’s beneficiary groups are Delta Illusions Dance Co., Teens Acting Against Violence, Bethel Freestyle Wrestling Club, Gladys Jung/BRHS Archery, the YK Delta Lifesavers and BRHS Cheerleaders in Bethel: Aniak Girls Basketball and the Napaskiak Senior Class. All of these groups were ticket sellers for the event.
For those of you in Bethel, join us for the annual Breakup Bash celebration at the riverfront across from First National Bank of Alaska tonight starting at 5 p.m. We will have live music, Yup’ik dance and free hot dogs to celebrate breakup. For those of you not in Bethel, you will miss the hot dogs but can watch Bethelites celebrating this change in season via our webcam!