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Queen still elusive in Garrettsville

Queen of hearts jackpot reaches $2.34M; next drawing is Sept. 25

By Matthew Merchant | staff writer Published: September 19, 2016 4:00 AM
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(This story has been updated to correct an error in the date of the next Queen of Hearts prize drawing.)


That's how the Queen of Hearts drawing at Garrettsville's SkyLane Bowling Alley is described by countless who attend each week.

Yet again, the red Queen of Hearts card was not revealed during Sunday's drawing. The jackpot is now a record-smashing $2.34 million.

SkyLane owner Aaron King flipped the Nine of Hearts card, letting out a groan of despair as more than 15,000 people in the crowd cheered.

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This week alone the game broke the previously known Queen of Hearts record of $1.8 million set just last year by Barry Dyngle's Pub in Austintown.

SkyLane's game broke that record on Tuesday and quickly reached the $2 million mark later in the week. King said he's been working 16 hour days alongside his staff, manning the regular bowling leagues as well as selling tickets.

"It's just been dumb luck that we've gotten this far," he said. "By now we should have revealed the Queen but every week it's the wrong card."

There are now just three cards left on the board.

Along with the regular Queen of Hearts drawing, the 50/50 raffle also drew a record number of participants.

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This week that jackpot reached $183,954, with half being split between the Portage Animal Protective League and the Garrettsville, Freedom, Nelson Joint Fire District.

One lucky winner walked home Sunday with $91,977 in cash.

Cars lined both sides of S.R. 82, as well as every usable inch of the parking lots in nearby IGA Plaza, downtown on Main Street, the municipal lots and even back roads surrounding the bowling alley.

In the rush to leave after the drawings, there were a few minor vehicle accidents and local police had to administer sobriety tests to other drivers.

Nashville recording artist Chris Higbee and his band also performed again, following up on an audience favorite show last weekend. Higbee, a fiddle player, performed a variety of songs from almost all genres, including country, rock, pop and bluegrass °-- even playing from the roof of the bowling alley.

King said he's thankful for the attention the game is bringing to a small town like Garrettsville, but he's ready for the game to be finished.

The next drawing is set for Sunday, Sept. 25.

In the interest of public safety, King has changed the rules so that a winner does not have to be present to win 90% of the Queen of Hearts prize. Officials were concerned about safety and security of the growing size of the crowd for the drawings.

Contact this reporter at mmerchant@recordpub.com.

Twitter: @MattMerchantRC

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