Oak Bay man intends to keep on playing Gold Rush - Mar. 12, 2014
Harry Roy of Oak Bay is the winner of the largest Gold Rush jackpot to date - $16,979. He’s shown here with his wife Kate Burkholder picking up his cheque from the Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte County in St. Stephen.
Charlotte County was abuzz with excitement Thursday when the winning Gold Rush number was drawn.
“Who won?” was the most asked question in coffee shops, grocery stores and on Facebook.
It wasn’t until later in the afternoon that same day that the winner was announced.
Harry Roy is the registered owner of the winning number – 3361 – and was presented with a cheque for $16,979, the largest jackpot to date in the Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte County’s 50-50 draw. Players pay $2 per week to enter the draw.
“It was surprising, exciting, humbling,” said Roy’s wife, Kate Burkholder.
“Everyone is wishing you well, but you know they’re wishing they had won,” she added with a good-natured laugh.
“It took us a while to get hold of him,” said Shelley Ross, club administrator and special events coordinator. She had to use a bit of subterfuge to wrangle a cell phone number and contacted Roy on the job.
“I wish the kids had won it,” said Roy, referring to his daughters Rhiannon and Kayleigh.
“But I’m sure they’ll get some of it,” he added with a chuckle.
Roy has worked for Disher Homes Ltd., a St. Stephen-based company, for 13 years. He said he has been playing Gold Rush for about a year and will “more than likely” keep playing.
He also intends to make a $500 donation to the Boys and Girls Club.
“If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have any, so…”
Roy and his wife don’t have any other immediate plans for the money, but were heading out to supper Friday night.
“I’m buying again,” he said with a laugh.
Ross said Gold Rush, gearing up for its 123rd week, has been good for the club.
“We have been able to open up so many more new free programs,” said Ross. “We have high school and middle school programs where we do things with them on the weekends.”
Ross mentioned one program funded by Gold Rush where the students are taught how to stretch grocery dollars. They receive practical instruction on how to buy ingredients that will be used for more than one thing, instead of using the same amount of money buying a pizza that feeds them for one night.
“We have hang out nights every other week, and middle school programs throughout the week as well,” said Ross, explaining that some middle school students are too young to stay at home alone but they don’t want to go to the boys and girls club and hang out with little kids – “they’re too cool,” she agreed with a smile.
There’s no charge for the after-school program for the middle school or high school kids and the club bus will deliver students to the club where parents pick them up once programming concludes for the day.
Ross said the club understands the excitement surrounding last week’s draw and asked for patience from the Gold Rush participants.
“Just please have patience on that day of the draw. It takes us so long to process everything and then get hold of everyone.”
The draw has 7,003 registered numbers – some people have more than one number and some don’t play each week.
Some winners don’t want their name released.
“They might want to keep it a secret and surprise somebody and let them do the announcement.”
Gold Rush is easy to play. Ross said the club, located on Route 170 on the outskirts of St. Stephen, has registration ballots that people can drop in and fill out.
“That gives them their Gold Rush number forever. If they don’t play for a year, they can still play next month.”
Each week, players write their number on a green sticker and place it on a Twoonie which they then deposit in a Gold Rush entry box.
Players can also stick the sticker on a $10 or $20 bill and play ahead or arrange pre-authorized debit from a bank account at the first of each month. Ross said participants can even pay for a whole year and then not have to wonder if they’ve paid their money for the week.
All participants receive an email or a phone call when their pre-paid weeks run out.
Just how well do those green stickers stay attached?
“Those stickers are so sticky there’s no way they would fall off,” said Ross, laughing.
Whose job is it to peel those stickers off every week?
“Mine and a group of very good ladies here,” said Ross, laughing again. “We sit here. It doesn’t take any mental strain, but nobody has a good manicure now.”