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10,000 tickets sold for chance to win prizes during 7th annual Bonanza Extravangaza

May 12, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • Bonanza Extravaganza chairman, Rick Conrad, indicates which numbers are needed to win as Jeanne Kates, left, and Linda Fisher wait for the drawing. Jeanne needed a "four", and Linda hoped for a "one". Kates came from Perryville, Md., and Fisher is a Frederick resident.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

Dave Wallech had his eye on winning the 2012 Chevrolet Corvette Centennial Edition on Saturday at the seventh annual Bonanza Extravaganza at Hagerstown Speedway.

“If I don’t win one, I’m going to buy one,” said Wallech, of Hagerstown.

Either way, Wallech already was a $1,000 prize winner at the two-day fundraiser sponsored by the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1605 Foundation Inc.

Wallech and his wife, Deb, were among thousands of people who filled the infield of the dirt track on Saturday.

Lynette Mell of Dillsburg, Pa., said this year was her fifth time attending the extravaganza, and said it was her luckiest to date after she won a $1,000 prize Saturday afternoon.

This year was the first time she won anything, she said.

Last year, her boyfriend, Steven Crosson, won a gun and $100.

“Just glad I won something,” Mell said.

John Murray, president of the Local 1605 foundation, said 10,000 tickets were sold for $100 each for a chance to win about $850,000 in prizes, including eight Chevrolet vehicles, 7 Harley-Davidson motorcycles, campers and all-terrain vehicles.

The nonprofit organization has been told its the largest event of its kind in the United States, Murray said.

“Every five minutes, we give away a prize,” Murray said.

Last year, ticket buyers were from 49 of the 50 states, Murray said.

While people drank alcoholic beverages amid Saturday’s pleasant sunny skies, the event included an opportunity for six people who are designated drivers to win $500 prizes, Murray said.

“We promote responsible behavior,” Murray said.

Clutching cups of beers, Meredith Callahan of Hagerstown and her friends, Michelle Caudill, Amber Caudill, Sarah Choma and Debra Delgrosso, all of Baltimore, each had their hopes of winning big.

Their designated driver was Callahan’s brother, Matt Mathias.

“I’ll take any amount of money,” Amber Caudill said when asked what she would like to win.

Callahan and Choma said they wanted to win a Harley-Davidson, and Delgrosso said she would take anything the extravaganza organizers were willing to give her.

Kellen Weber of Carroll County, Md., had his eye on the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox.

The trip to Washington County was like a “mini-vacation,” he said.

“It’s good to get away with friends,” Weber said.

After winning $150, Weber said he was happy to get his money back “and then some.”

But he still had hopes of possibly winning the big prize — $100,000 in cash.

“If they call a 9, I might be lucky,” Weber said.

Murray said tickets to win prizes at the event sold out by Wednesday, but there were plenty of other games, raffles and tip jar tickets in play. Several firefighting organizations were managing them.

Tickets littered the ground and filled plastic garbage cans around large tents erected in the infield.

Ken Lavely of Falling Waters, W.Va., joked the only reason he came to the extravaganza was to win a motorized cooler. There were five to win.

Murray said the foundation has been able to give more than $650,000 to nonprofit organizations in past years because of the event’s success.

At least 30 organizations that help stage the event benefit as well, Murray said.

Whether playing beer pong, cornhole or any of the other games, people appeared to be entertained Saturday.

Murray said the event remains a work in progress.

“We have only just begun,” Murray said.

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