Lucky pair split $15K in Rotary Sweepstakes

Published 11:59 pm Friday, July 10, 2009

But for a decision to “keep going,” Paul Rogers would have been at least $5,000 richer today.

When the Andalusia Rotary Club had pulled all but the final 10 names in its Domino Sweepstakes Drawing for $15,000 last night, each of the people still holding tickets were polled: Did they want to keep going, or split the cash?

Ticket holders and persons with the proxy for ticket holders still on the board gathered near the action. Carolyn Graham called Rogers, who wasn’t present.

“He said don’t call him back unless he wins it all,” she reported. “Keep going.”

Mallory Mims, who served as Miss World Domino, kept drawing numbers.

First out was Ashton Wells, MD. Next, the number of a ticket held by Earl Johnson and Charlie Morris was drawn. Bill Jones, William H. McWhorter and Lori Fuqua followed.

Five to go, and Carolina LLC was the next out. Allen Robertson’s ticket was next. With three people left and the opportunity to split for $15,000, Rogers’ name was called.

That left Chris Authement, who was present, and Dana Collum, who was not present. Collum, who was on vacation, was getting updates from Al Holley. Would she split?

“It’s $7,500,” Authement said. “Tell her it’s $7,500!”

Holley held his Blackberry to the microphone for her announcement. “I’ll split,” she said.

The decision made Authement, who was the most talked-about person at this year’s World Championship Domino Tournament, a very happy young man. The Baton Rouge resident played in the tournament, and arrived wearing a red tuxedo, red shoes, and a red top hat.

Earlier in the day, he explained his attire.

“I bought this for my senior prom last year,” he said. “And I wear it to hockey games.”

A junior at LSU, Authement has been playing in the local tournament since he was 8.

“My grandpa got me in to it,” he said.

He said he plans to spend some of the money, but save most to help pay for college.

Friday was singles play in the 34th annual tournament, which continues today with doubles play. The championship round in each will be played about 5 this afternoon. Jimmy Baker and Tommy Polk will meet for the singles championship.

Other winners in singles play were Nathan Garrett, third place; Ethan Dorsey, fourth; Jerome Wooten, fifth; Walt Jones, sixth; Sammy Mahaffey, 7th; and M. Kikev, 8th.

In the consolation singles bracket, M. L. Edgar placed first, followed by D.T. Whitefiled, Alton MItchell and Mark Akins.

This year’s tournament featured players from as far away as California, and Bulgaria.

A man who registered as “Nate the Great” from Freemont, Calif., said he plays the dominoes circuit and heard about Andalusia’s tournament that way.

“I guarantee you, I’ll have at least 15 people with me next year,” he said.

Nate, who grew up in Africa, found one thing he really liked in Andalusia – sweet tea.

“I’ve never had Southern tea before,” he said. “It’s great.”