The Queen of Hearts drawing at Stubborn German Brewing Co. in Waterloo is heating up as the jackpot stood at more than $53,985 with only 15 cards remaining Tuesday night.
There was no winner, so the jackpot grows even more for next week.
Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic School Athletic Director John Green first proposed the raffle as a novel way to raise money for the school’s athletic department.
“It’s been doing really, really well,” Green said. “We’ve been able to produce income for our athletic department and even income we could utilize within other departments of the school.”
With throngs of people now flocking to the brewery every Tuesday at 7 p.m. for the drawing, Stubborn German co-owner Tammy Rahn said she deems the fundraiser a success as well.
“It’s a very large crowd,” she said. “It spills over into our patio and the city sidewalks. It’s going really well.”
To play the game, which started Nov. 7, participants purchase raffle tickets costing $1 each. Then, a winning ticket is drawn and the winner has a chance to select a card from a board containing 54 playing cards face down.
The person automatically gets $25 for having their name drawn, and if they pick the titular card they win the jackpot.
If they do not, the money from the ticket sales rolls over to the next week and the jackpot increases.
If the winning person bought a ticket but is not present, they only get half of the jackpot.
The raffle benefits SPPCS because 20 percent of the ticket sales go toward the school. The other 80 percent goes to the jackpot.
A 50/50 raffle that takes place simultaneously also benefits SPPCS.
Stubborn German gets no money from either of these drawings, only from increased beer sales.
“We appreciate when people buy their drinks from us because that supports us and then we are able to support the school,” Rahn said.
The school gets its share of the money on a weekly basis.
Green said the school has already purchased numerous items with the funds, including soccer uniforms, a hitting net for the baseball program and basketballs.
Green said the rest of the money, along with any future funds generated, will help cover costs incurred throughout the school year. Those costs include transportation, official fees and scorekeeper fees.
Green explained it is only through fundraisers like these that he can pay for the athletic department, as the school and church do not pay for athletics.
Because of this necessity, Green took special care to ensure the raffle was completely legal. The Belleville News-Democrat published an investigative article last year questioning the legality of Queen of Hearts raffles across the state.
“We don’t have any concerns at all as far as the legality of the program,” Green said. “We touched base with every local, state and federal agency to see what we had to do. We conformed to those rules and regulations. So, I don’t have a problem at all with it being a legal entity.”
Since Green went through those steps, it ensures the money will go toward its ended cause. Rahn, who has two children at the school, said that cause is one of the main reasons people should participate.
“I feel like it’s the right thing to do,” Rahn said. “It’s something fun that brings our community together and they get to support a great cause.”
Green agreed with the community benefits, saying the extra crowds benefit the local economy.
“I think it’s wonderful for the community and for our town, not just Saints Peter and Paul,” he said. “It brings people into the downtown Waterloo area. The streets are filled with people.”
Rahn said those crowds provide another reason for people to come, as the excitement is palpable.
“There is a lot of energy in the room,” she said. “It’s pretty exciting. It’s honestly worth coming just to be a part of it because it’s pretty fun.”
No one knows when that fun will end, but Green said regardless of when it does, he appreciates the support the school has received for this event.
“I’m very humbled by the support and very thankful for the people who have supported this program to date,” Green said. “It’s just been tremendous. We would not be able to do the things we’ve been able to do without everybody’s involvement and participation. It just means the world to us.”
Green said he has already reached an agreement with Stubborn German to do another raffle shortly after this one ends. He said a new Queen of Hearts board is ready and safely locked up.
To purchase tickets for the current Queen of Hearts drawing, go to Stubborn German any time it is open. Tickets are available for purchase until 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.