The story of Rotary Richard

People have until April 6 to make their guess

By Abbey Bates

It has been seven years since the people of Clearwater first noticed a plywood cutout of a man on the ice of Dutch Lake in the dead of winter.

This plywood man has become to be known as “Rotary Richard” and a symbol of impending spring.

Each February Rotary Richard mysteriously appears on the lake. The Rotary Club of Clearwater first got the idea of placing Rotary Richard on Dutch Lake in 2012 as a way to raise funds for various club activities by getting locals to bet on when he will fall through the ice.

It was a long time tradition of the locals to guess when the ice would melt off the lake. The Rotary Club has data going back to 1980 of when the ice left the lake thanks to Dean Redman.

Hazel Wadlegger made the suggestion of selling guesses on when the ice would leave. Alan Stel, the principal of Clearwater Secondary at the time, snapped a picture of Richard Christenson, a Rotary Club member, without him knowing.

Next thing Richard knew was that there was a likeness of him created by the CSS woodworking class on plywood. After the timing mechanism was figured out and how the clock would be triggered, Rotary Richard proudly sat on the ice and waited for spring to topple him over.

Each year since 2012, Rotary Club members have recorded guesses as to when Rotary Richard will fall through the ice. Each guess is made up of the date, hour, minute and second. A donation of $2 per guess or three for $5 is asked of each person wanting to make a guess.

When Rotary Richard’s clock stops the person closest to the time will win $500 in gift certificates from local businesses of their choice.

Look for Rotary Richard guess sheets at Home Hardware, Clearwater Dollar Emporium and Bigfoot Trading Co. (Greffard’s and Greenscapes) and at the table in Buy-Low where you will find a Rotary Club member eager to take your guesses.

You have until April 6 to make your guess as spring is here.

Or at least it feels like it.

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