IRON MOUNTAIN — It’s been labeled the most U.P. contest ever, and I will admit the event is pretty far out there. Each year, you might see it down in Iron Mountain…a car, on some ice, in a pit. Just sitting, waiting for mother nature to run its course.
Now you may be asking yourself, “What it so interesting about an old car sitting on some ice?” Well if you guess when it will break through that ice, you could win $1500.
“What could be more U.P. than putting a car out on the ice and guessing when it will sink?” said jayna Huotari, Co-Chair for the contest.
The annual Car Plunge Contest was a hit back in the 40’s and 50’s. After a long dormancy, Huotari’s father decided to bring the contest back.
“We received a five–year permit from the Michigan DEQ, and got permission from the Iron Mountain city council,” said Huotari “One of our members donated a car, and it’s a 1998 Saturn.”
For the last three years, people have guessed across the calendar when that car will sink. Entry forms and collection canisters are available all across the area. Participants can also guess online.
“You can see a webcam of the car sitting on the ice and you can look at guesses from the previous year, when it actually sank, so you can gauge when it’s going to go,” explained Huotari.
Remember, the deadline to submit a guess is March 15th. There aren’t many tips for guessing the correct date and time. The only constants are that each sinking has occurred in the afternoon, sometime in mid March or early April.
“With weather being the way it is in the U.P you never quite know,” said Huotari. “So, it’s anybody’s guess as to when that car will take the plunge.”
Of course, the contest doesn’t go without some wear and tear.
“The car has taken a beating in the past few years,” said Huotari. “We’ve got a smashed windshield and we’ve lost a bumper in the retrieval and didn’t put it back on, but it’s a lot of fun, and it’s a way to look forward to spring.”
Now, last year the car sunk on April 2nd. That’s my birthday. So, my guess is as good as anybody else’s but I’m feeling we’re going to have a repeat this year.