Party-Goers Collect $Thousands in Prizes
By David Keeler
Wyalusing area residents Becky Smith and her husband, Kevin, went home from Saturday night’s annual Elimination Party with the $3,000 grand prize, but it cost them an extra $1,000 to get a shot at winning the big prize.
The event, which is hosted by the Wyalusing Rainbow Club at the Wyalusing Fire Hall, drew about 160 people, who paid $125 for tickets that admitted two and included food, drinks, music for dancing plus a chance to win thousands of dollars in prizes. It’s the Rainbow Club’s largest fundraiser of the year, and Saturday night marked the party’s 27th year.
Ticket holder names are posted on cards displayed at the front of the room. The fun begins when numbers are drawn corresponding to the names on the cards and one by one the cards are removed, eliminating the ticket holder from a chance to win the big money.
Having your name eliminated from the running isn’t always bad. Bob and Lynn Westover, the first to be eliminated Saturday night, won a $500 consolation prize for being the first to go. And through the course of the evening, $100 prizes are handed out periodically as cards are pulled from the board. And those eliminated aren’t totally out of the running. Throughout the evening, chances are sold on new tickets with the lucky winners getting back in the game.
The excitement mounts when just five people are left in the running and a table is set up at the front of the room, where the final five toast each other with glasses of champagne. Meanwhile, offers from the audience to purchase one of the remaining seats tempt those with cards still on the board to take the money and run.
Terry Keeney, who organized Wyalusing’s first Elimination Party in 1984, was MC during Saturday night’s final round. Rainbow Club President Dave LaFrance cranked the hopper containing balls marked with ticket holders’ numbers, and Keeney announced that the first to be eliminated would be Melinda Lowe, who won $250. Lowe and others at the table opted not to accept offers from the floor to sell their tickets for as much as $500. Next to go was Lynn Jennings who also won $250.
This left John Keeney, Bobbi Dyer and Nancy Keeler as the three remaining ticket holders seated at the table and at first none of them would give up their ticket, despite would-be-purchasers in the audience, like Syke Ruhf who offered $900 for a spot at the table. “That’s $400 more than you’ll make if your number is pulled,” Keeney said. Nobody budged. “I’m feeling lucky,” Nancy Keeler joked.
But an offer of $1,000 from Kevin Smith was too much for Bobbi Dyer to ignore, and she gave up her seat to Kevin’s wife, Becky. The room grew quiet with anticipation as the next number was drawn. If the Smiths’ number was pulled it would mean they had just paid $1,000 for a prize worth $500.
But it was the Smiths lucky night. John Keeney was next to go and collected his $500 prize. That left just Nancy Keeler and Becky Smith at the table. One of them would win $1,000; the other would collect the $3,000 grand prize. It was a lucky night for Nancy Keeler, too. She had previously been eliminated but got back in the game with a new ticket she won in one of the night’s drawings.
Someone offered $2,500 from the floor for either of the two remaining tickets but there were no takers. Rhaegan Hugo drew the next ball and it was worth $1,000 for Nancy Keeler, leaving Becky Smith as the winner of the $3,000 grand prize.
The Elimination Party was catered by the Wyalusing Hotel. Jill Shanrock, DJ with All About Entertainment, provided music. Profits from the Elimination Party go to fund Rainbow Club projects throughout the community.