Lake Nipmuc Association Sponsoring Ice Out Contest and Fishing Derby
By Michelle Sanford Staff Reporter/Columnist · January 27, 2011
Standing with Old Man Winter are members of the Lake Nipmuc Association from left to right: President Ted King, Ileen Matthews, Shirley Smith, and Secretary Mark Reil.
Once again, Old Man Winter has set up shop on Lake Nipmuc in Mendon and is patiently waiting and wondering when the ice will begin to thaw resulting in his plunge to the bottom of the water.
For the second year, the Lake Nipmuc Association is sponsoring its Ice Out Contest in which people can guess the date and time when the bearded mannequin will fall into the frigid waters.
Old Man Winter is again sitting on a chair on the lake approximately 40 feet off the shore. His chair is weighted with a cinder block that is attached to an electric analog clock with a sweep second hand. When the ice under him finally breaks, the weight yanks on an extension cord and disconnects it from a water resistant clock. At that point, the date and time are recorded.
To participate, contestants must guess the month, day, hour, and minute they think the statue will sink.
Old Man Winter is lit up at night with a 24/7 Web camera recording his every move. Live viewing of the mannequin can be found on the Lake Nipmuc Association's Web site at www.lakenipmuc.com.
The one change to this year's contest is there will be one grand prize winner as opposed to several cash prizes awarded. The grand prize winner of this year will receive $1,000.
Last year's first place winner, Robert Bethel, won $500 with a guess of March 10, at 1 p.m. Old Man Winter actually fell into the water on March 10 at 12:12 p.m., however, Bethel's guess was the closest.
Each entry will cost $5. The deadline to participate is February 15. Tickets can be purchased at some local businesses or on the Association's Web site with a credit card or PayPal.
Proceeds from the contest will be divided between the Association and the Parks Department for environmental education.
In addition to the Ice Out Contest, the Lake Nipmuc Association is also sponsoring its third Annual Fishing Derby on Lake Nipmuc on Saturday, February 5.
This year, fishermen (and women) may begin drilling their holes as early as 6:30 a.m. The Derby will officially run from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The preregistration fee for adults is $20 and for juniors under age 15 the fee is $15. Adults who register the day of the Fishing Derby will pay $25 and juniors will pay $20.
All participants will be required to fill out a registration form, sign a waiver, and show a valid fishermen's license.
Prizes, including cash and fishing equipment, will be awarded in different categories.
More detailed information and forms can be found on the Association's Web site at www.lakenipmuc.com.
Proceeds from the Derby will go toward supporting the Lake Nipmuc Association.
According to Lake Nipmuc Association member Shirley Smith, last year's Fishing Derby was very successful and raised nearly $1,000.