We were pretty optimistic.
Copy Chief Wendy Skellenger and I even took her SUV just in case we had to haul home our winnings Sunday evening from Our Lady of Guadalupe’s 72nd Annual Fiesta. After all we each had in our possession a green raffle ticket, having made the suggested $2 donation.
The Fiesta had been going on since Thursday, with carnival rides, dances, a car show, Mariachi bands and tons of great food. There was even a Grito contest, where people screamed like coyotes and a jalapeno eating contest which could render anyone speechless.
While we didn’t have to be present to win one of the 14 items in the drawing, we drove over to South Hutchinson to enjoy the sights, sounds and delicious smells of the fiesta. Plus we both knew that either one of us, or both, had a chance of winning everything from a Ford Fusion to a $500 recliner.
Feeling lucky, we sat down with plates of cheesy enchiladas and pork and bean burritos. Around us were people putting their names on last minute raffle tickets. We noticed they weren’t just buying one – but entire books. Their name would go in the hopper not just once like ours, but over and over again upping their chance of winning.
Then we saw the hopper filled with the green raffle tickets. That’s when I told Wendy we didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. I thought that was an OK thing to say at a church function.
Some lucky winner was going to drive off in a 2006 Ford Fusion, with leather interior, and the odds were it wasn’t going to be me, or Wendy.
“It only takes one ticket,” said a sweet lady at the raffle table. Another woman said only once in all the 20-plus years of helping with the Fiesta did she win. But, it was a whopping $1,000.
I volunteered to give the hopper a couple of spins to ensure every one got a fair shake. It was weighted down with green raffle tickets making it hard to turn. At that moment I could see hundreds of names spin by, all people optimistic just like us.
But, the lucky winner of this year’s raffle turned out to be Bill Ropp, a parishioner. Not only did he win the car, but also the recliner.
There is a moral to this story for anyone who wants to up their chance of winning at next year’s fiesta. Purchase a book of tickets, rather than one. And then do what Bill did, douse the tickets with water brought back from the holy land. He’s proof winning takes a miracle.
-Kathy Hanks, Kansas Journal
Kathy Hanks has a regular column called Kansas Journal. Read it on Tuesday’s in The Hutchinson News.