Castlewood ‘Chase the Ace’ fundraiser nears $310,000 with two cards left

Only two envelopes, #35 and #46, remain to be opened.
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 5:47 PM CDT
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CASTLEWOOD, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The drawing for the 51st week of the Castlewood ‘Chase the Ace’ fundraiser will be held at Ship’s Inn Bar & Grill Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Only two envelopes, #35 and #46, remain to be opened. As of noon on Monday, the total jackpot had reached over $300,000. That means the winner could take home over $120,000 if they find the Ace of Spades this week.

Employees from PCC Ambulance Billing Service have been pooling their tickets together since week one. If they win, they plan to split the money among the 17 of them.

”We pray and pray that one of them gets drawn every week, and we all come as a group. It’s a great experience,” said Alisha Nielsen, one of the employees from PCC.

For them, half the fun is the atmosphere of the drawing nights.

“After work, some of us come and we fold and we actually come help the Grow Castlewood Community Foundation. The rest of us just come down and we eat together like a work family. Everyone just gets excited because they just want to support this community after all that’s happened, and we just want to see it grow and prosper,” said Nielsen

PCC President Michele Smith says it’s a great way to benefit the small businesses in their communities.

”Obviously, the ‘Chase the Ace’ is important for the community, because it’s going toward a community benefit, but it also brings the opportunity to each of these businesses to grow their business. So, that’s why we’ve supported them, not only with the desire to win, but also just to be here and support their business each week. That’s really important in a small town,” said Smith.

Each week, the drawing is held at one of three restaurants in Castlewood. Tables Steakhouse owner, Amelia Foster, says she has to bring in extra staff for drawing nights she hosts.

”Last Tuesday, we filled up the whole restaurant. It gets pretty hectic, but I bring in more staff and it goes pretty smooth and it’s just a great atmosphere altogether,” said Foster.

As the number of cards shrink, the crowd gets bigger.

“It’s definitely drawing in more people each week. We get more exposure too. A lot of out-of-towners come in, so that’s always great for small towns to bring in out-of-towners. The bigger the pot gets, the more people get excited, the more they’re coming out to actually see the drawing and hope that their name gets drawn while they’re there,” said Foster.

Nielsen says the drawing nights provide a positive event for the community to come together for after spending the last 6 months repairing their community after the May 12th tornado.

“After the tornado and everyone was devastated, this has kind of been something that brings us all together. It’s been great, it’s been fellowship, it’s been just being able to be with each other and help support each other and want new things. It’s very exciting,” said Nielsen.

Ticket sales will be open until 7 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $5 each and can be bought on Venmo with a payment to @growcastlewood or online at growcastlewood.com. Phone number must be included with payment.