IRON MOUNTAIN — The Rotary Club of Iron Mountain-Kingsford wants to know when you think this car will break through the ice in the Chapin Pit. They’re calling it the Car Plunge Contest.
The club member who first suggested reviving the contest says that according to his understanding, Iron Mountain–area civic groups started holding a similar event in the 1940s.
“It continued pretty much intact every year until the late ’50s,” Rotary Club member Jeff DeRidder said. “At some point in time, for whatever reason, either the community had had enough of it or wasn’t supporting it, or maybe there were water issues.”
“There’s a big nostalgia factor there,” Rotary Club secretary Jayna Huotari said. “People remember this event (from) when they were children and they really love the idea that it’s being brought back. People have been very excited about it.”
A club member donated the car. Students from the Dickinson-Iron Technical Center repainted it so it would be more easily seen from US-2, but it wasn’t easy to bring a 1998 Saturn into the pit.
Organizers had to jump over a few hurdles that their counterparts from decades ago never had to deal with. They needed to obtain a permit from the Michigan DEQ and the technical students had to basically pick the car clean.
“Any toxic fluids (had to go),” DeRidder said. “Engine, transmission, axles, radiator, air conditioning stuff, brake fluid, all that is gone. All the seats are gone so there’s no cloth. There are even holes here and there in the car to help advance the sinking.”
The car is also anchored to the ground so it can be pulled back out. Entries cost $5 each or three for $10, and there’s no word yet on how many people have entered.
“We’re not going to pick up the canisters from the area locations until March 31st,” Huotari said. “But we have sent out quite a few — probably over 200 entries have been sent out to people out of state.”
The person who chooses the date and time closest to the actual moment the car sinks will win $1,000. Some of us here at ABC 10 and CW 5 have our own guesses.
Danielle Davis chose St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, at 3:37 p.m.
Katlin Connin went with April 5th at 11:30 a.m.
Mike Hoey thinks the car will break through on April 17th at 2 p.m.
Kevin Terpstra selected April 24th at 4 p.m., and Jerry Taylor believes it’ll happen on May 15th at noon.
The Rotary Club has not arranged a method to enter the contest online, but there are many entry forms available in businesses in the Dickinson County area.
Club members also say that if you’re outside of their area, you can still email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for an entry form. You can also get more information about the contest on their website, www.rotaryimk.org.