By Dan Walton

Pioneer Staff

A local high stakes contest had its rules changed at the last minute and those eligible to win feel deceived.

The Columbia Valley Rockies hold a Shoot to Win contest at all of their home games, which gives raffle-winning fans the chance to step onto the rink, challenging them to shoot the puck into a small target from far away. Those who were successful were invited back to the final home game of the season to shoot again with the promise that if they were successful again, they would win a new Ford truck from Melody Motors.

Because a $50,000 prize is too expensive for a non-profit organization to risk to chance, the Rockies purchased insurance on the contest, as they have done in years past.

But two days before the final home game of the season, the insurance company learned the specifics of the contest and notified the Rockies that Shoot To Win wouldnt be covered under their agreement. Their reasoning is that because the contestants pre-qualified, they had time to practise, which had the potential of increasing their odds of succeeding.

The odds of them actually winning go way up, so they wouldnt insure us, said Ross Bidinger, Rockies general manager. There was nothing we could do unless someone was willing to risk $50,000 on a truck, and thats just not feasible.

Two contestants, expecting to shoot a puck with a hockey stick, were instead challenged on the rink by a softball throw, which required a supernatural amount of precision to hit the target. And because neither of them were astronomically lucky, nobody won the truck.

People were upset and I get it. Theres no easy way around it, said Mr. Bidinger, adding that changes will be made to the promotion before next season.

Most likely, the chance to win the big prize will be random, not based on pre-qualifying. The Shoot to Win contest in its previous format in years past was not properly covered by the insurance policy, said Mr. Bidinger.