Legion’s Chase the Ace winner bags a bundle

Natalie Pilling of Killarney plucked the Ace of Spades from three remaining cards to win over $40,000


After several pent-up weeks, involving block-long lines of adrenalized customers, a winner finally emerged last Friday evening in the Legion’s Chase the Ace.

With just three cards remaining in the 52-card deck, the tension was tightly pitched, and ticket sales ran rampant, said organizers.

“We have a limit of selling up to 10,000 tickets each week for the Chase the Ace,” said Colleen Skrypnyk, manager of the Killarney Legion, RCL Branch 25. “And we have a limit of 1,000 tickets to be sold to one person. No one person had bought 1,000 tickets, but one group bought 800 tickets, and that was on Friday.”

But it was another ticket holder, Natalie Pilling of Killarney, who scored the chance to draw the Ace Of Spades, the most ‘fortunate’ card in the deck, on August 9.

“She had been coming every week,” said Skrypnyk. “Our secretary, Patti Pugh, did the draw, and it was her ticket that won. Then there were the three cards, including the ace, and they were shuffled and laid out. Natalie chose the card in the middle, and that was the Ace of Spades.”

It seems, however, that Skrypnyk was more excited than Pilling when the thrilling card was revealed.

“She was really calm,” said Skrypnyk. “She won the big pot, which was at $39,873, plus she got 20 per cent of the pot, which was $2,000, making it $41,873. I did my happy dance, mostly because it was finally over. I wanted to go on holiday, but I was needed here. Plus I wanted to be here when the happy person won. It was the luck of the draw.”

What is intriguing is that on this same week back in 2018, another lucky winner also scored the big pot, she added.

“This time last year it was won as well,” said Skrypnyk. “Nora Walsh won $8,100.”

The Legion staff is now looking forward to a bit of a rest after the big win, she added.

“We have had around 16 busy weeks,” said Skrypnyk. “We have been ordering extra stock, and carrying it upstairs to the hall for the overflow. We have sold out the last four or five weeks of all 10,000 tickets. And on Friday night, we had 300 people at the event. The line up was going around the block, and people at the end of the line were not able to buy tickets.”

So what happens to all the money generated locally by the Royal Canadian Legion #25 Killarney’s Chase the Ace?

“We have around $70,000, and it goes into the bank, into a special Chase the Ace account,” said Skrypnyk. “The Legion executive has to make a request through Liquor and Gaming to ask for permission on how we spend the money. And it has to be approved by Liquor and Gaming. We haven’t used any yet. The executive will decide what is needed. The upstairs bar is one idea, and also the bar downstairs.”

Chase the Ace starts up again this Friday, 5 to 6 p.m., at the Killarney Legion (behind the Post Office, on Mountain Avenue), with a full deck, and a starting pot of $500, she added.

FINALLY A WINNER – The tension had been rising weekly over at the Royal Canadian Legion #25 Killarney, as the Chase the Ace mountain of wealth accumulated over the summer. And last Friday – with just three cards remaining – Natalie Pilling (right) of Killarney enjoyed the luck of the draw, turning over the Ace of Spades, and winning the $39,873 pot. On the left is Killarney Legion president Jack Garabed, and beside him is Legion manager Colleen Skrypnyk. Chase the Ace is back at the Legion tonight, with a starting pot of $500.