Depot Days - 50/50 Raffle, The Story Behind the Story


AMBOY — The 27th annual Depot Days car show is just around the corner. Hundreds of car owners and car enthusiasts will flock to the village of Amboy on Sunday, Aug. 27. Last year about 650 cars, trucks and motorcycles came for the competition. A group of judges spend hours looking over the cars before making their decision on winners for each of the categories.

But, the story behind the story is the 50/50 drawing. As part of the Depot Days celebration the car show started having a 50/50 drawing. In the early days, the ticket holder took home 50 percent of the drawing and the Amboy Depot was the recipient of the other cash. The Amboy Depot Museum is a recipient of a cash donation, but the car show committee has had the opportunity to donate to many other community interests as well.
As the drawing grew over the years, the recipient list also grew. Over the years, the lucky ticket holders have realized winnings of anywhere from $8,400 in 2001 to $149.333 in 2015. The 50/50 drawing grew at a rapid rate over the past few years. In 2016, the pot dropped a little, but organizers were forced to shut things down a little early because of inclement weather. Last year’s winner received $135,903.
But the real winners are the local organizations that benefit from a piece of the pot. Last year’s recipients were Amboy, Sublette and Harmon fire departments, Amboy Depot Museum, Teen Turf, Amboy Education Foundation, local food pantries, Shining Star of Lee County, Lee County Fair Association, Special Olympics, Sublette Toy Show, Ashton Lions Club, Lee County Shop With a Cop, Amboy Summer Baseball and Amboy Lions Club. In total, these organizations received more than $100,000 through the 50/50 drawing. The committee was also able to help a family in the middle of the year who lost their home in a fire.
Each year organizations are able to submit a request for a donation from the committee to assist with their needs. The letter needs to be clear on what the funds are being sought for and the amount they are requesting. After the car show is done, the committee meets to recap the recent show and to review the requests. The entire committee votes on which of the requests and decides on the amount to be rewarded.

Another way that the committee gives back is by offering $2,000 scholarships to students who will be attending a trade school.
Other sources of revenue for the car show are the donations for the trophies and the sale of t-shirts and hats.
Tickets are available now at the following locations In Amboy, The Last Alarm Firehouse Pub, The Bears Den, Mort’s Tap, The Long Branch Saloon, Napa Auto Parts, Jones Berry Lumber, Amboy Depot Museum, Green River Oaks Campground, Amboy City Hall and Two Sisters on Main.
In Sublette, Country Village Meats, Shady Oaks Country Club Bonnell's General Store and The Sublette Saloon. (Located just outside the Woodhaven entrance) In Walton at The Walton Tap
In Compton at Jerry's Tap on Hwy 251
In Dixon at the Shamrock Pub and Patio’s Pub Downtown Dixon.
The tickets sell for $1 each or 6 for $5. Typically they are sold right up until time for the drawing, which is at 4 p.m. on the day of the car show. Winners need not be present to win. You can follow the drawing information on Facebook at Amboy Depot Days 50/50 Drawing.
Be sure and get a ticket, you just never know, it could be your lucky year.