$1.3 million purse after 42 weeks
WIIKWEMKOONG—Congratulations are pouring in from all points for the winner of the Wiikwemkoong Chase the Ace draw.
Kerry Kaboni (48) of Edmonton and who is originally from Wiikwemkoong held the winning ticket for the 42th draw, taking home a cool $1,377,707.80 in total prize money. That’s $91,543 in weekly prize money and $1,286,163 in progressive jackpot cash. Ms. Kaboni said her win came as a surprise.
“I would hope,” she laughed, but she hardly dared dream. “It still hasn’t sunk in. I bought a book a week from my cousin Ashley. I figured it wasn’t that much and even if I didn’t win anything, it was going to a good cause.”
In fact, in many ways the biggest beneficiaries of the draw will be the people of Wiikwemkoong, as $1,286,163 will go to help support many needed services in the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory communities that will benefit from the proceeds of the draw.
“My phone was still blowing up when I got up this morning,” said Ms. Kaboni, “so I know it wasn’t all just a dream.” Nearly all of the calls she has been getting have been congratulatory in nature.
Ms. Kaboni hasn’t made any decisions about how she will spend her win, although there are some things that spring readily to mind. “My son is 17 and he is looking at where he will go to university,” she said. “He’s pretty excited. I told him that our gift to him will be leaving school debt free.” That’s something Ms. Kaboni can understand only too well. “It took me 10 years to pay off my student debt,” she said.
Meanwhile, she and her husband Danny have been building a cabin in Jocko Bay. Ms. Kaboni returns to Wiikwemkoong for her vacation each year and has been anticipating retiring to her home community. “This will help finish the cabin,” she said.
But she hasn’t made up her mind just yet about retirement. “That is definitely an option,” she said. “I started working for the City of Edmonton while I was going to school and then I thought I would try and get on permanent with the city.” That worked out well.
Ms. Kaboni hasn’t collected her cheque yet. “I am hoping to take a flight out soon,” she said.
In the Chase the Ace draw, players pay $5 a ticket and select a number between one and 52 for their choice of envelope. A deck of playing cards had been placed in envelopes also numbered from one to 52 and if the ace of spades were to be found in the envelope with the number on the drawn ticket the ticket holder receives both the weekly prize and a jackpot that accumulates over the length of the draw. If the ace is not “caught” then the winner just receives the weekly prize and the progressive pot grows for another week.