Hopefuls on hunt for $2.5M K. of C. jackpot


WASHINGTON — Do you want to be a millionaire? Head to the Knights of Columbus in Washington on Saturday at 7 p.m. and you might pocket more money than you can count.

The group’s latest Treasure Hunt raffle board started in April 2017 with a $200,000 pot that has since exploded into a $2,561,586 pool of money. Hopefuls are now flocking to the Daviess County club and restaurant to stake their claim in the organization’s biggest ever Treasure Hunt prize pool.

A winner will be named at the next drawing, which is scheduled to take place at the Washington K. of C. — 319 E Main St. — at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets will be sold from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Friday at the club. Sale hours will shift to 8 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Saturday.

Patrons must be 18 or older to purchase tickets and must attend the drawing to receive the whole pot amount if their ticket is drawn. If the winner is absent, they will receive only half the money.

Here’s how it works. The Treasure Hunt game board is filled with 52 numbers. When those chasing the cash purchase tickets, they write one of the board’s remaining numbers on each of their entries. At each drawing, the winning ticket is pulled and the corresponding number is peeled off the game board. The prize amount behind the number is then given to the winner.

The jackpot prize has not been awarded on the current board, but only one number remains, so it is guaranteed to be dished out this week. Following each drawing, 80 percent of the total dollar amount collected goes into the pot for the next drawing.

Of the 20 percent of funds the Knights of Columbus retains, some are kept for operating expenses and some are donated to the local community and organizations in surrounding areas like Loogootee and Vincennes.

Since the raffles began a few years ago, raffle co-founder Randy Emmons said that number has translated to more than $600,000 in donations.

“That’s what we’re supposed to do,” said John Casper, a K. of C. member who is one of the three men who launched the first Treasure Hunt game a few years ago. “We’re a program of charity to begin with — that’s one of our missions. But before (the raffles), we weren’t able to because of our financial position. So, we’re doing our best to answer all requests.”

Casper said in a phone interview early Monday afternoon that at that time, the establishment’s dining room was filled with more than a hundred people wanting to buy raffle tickets. Tickets cost $1 a piece and patrons can buy as many as they want.

The club was on the brink of closing before the first Treasure Hunt. That is no longer the case.

“The whole reason we were doing this was to keep our doors open,” Emmons said. “We were ready to close the club, and this came and it worked out for us.”

In December 2016, the Washington Knights of Columbus awarded a $1.86 million jackpot to a Montgomery man as part of the club’s third Treasure Hunt. The second jackpot totalled $51,000 and the first one — which was open to only Knights of Columbus members —  reached $3,800.

Casper said the growth of the jackpot comes from more people hearing about it over the years. Monday, someone traveling through the area from South Dakota bought tickets because they heard about the drawing on the radio.

For the previous drawing on Sept. 29, the club sold north of 422,000 tickets, and Casper guessed the group will sell even more than that this week before Saturday’s drawing.

He said those selling tickets Monday at the Washington establishment were fighting to keep up with the crowd.

“I’ve got seven people selling tickets in there right now,” he said. “Our dining room is two-thirds full. I tell you, there’s better than a hundred in here right now.”

The money the club nets from the final drawing’s ticket sales will roll over to the next pot. Emmons said the first drawing for that pool will take place in the coming months.

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