Friendswood Chamber of Commerce President Carol Mercantel would love to see the reaction of someone who has just won a brand new truck.
But in 27 years, no such luck.
Each year since 1991, the chamber has given away a truck during the city’s Fourth of July festivities through its annual “Win a Truck” drawing and fundraiser.
But in all those years, no winner has been present for the big announcement.
‘Is this a joke?’
“We wait a few minutes to see if the person is in the crowd — because there are thousands of people at the fireworks display — and then we’ll make arrangements with that person listed on the ticket the next day,” Mercantel said. “They always say ‘Is this a joke?’”
The tradition — which is the chamber’s largest fundraiser — continues as the raffle goes into first gear with $10 tickets being sold at various area locations.
The chamber will draw a name and give away a 2018 Ford F-150 pickup truck at approximately 9 p.m. July 4 at Centennial Park in Friendswood leading into the fireworks display.
The chamber purchases a truck from McRee Ford for $25,000. The raffle winner gets that model truck and chooses from among three colors – red, light gray and blue. The winner pays the cost of the title and license and has the option to trade in the vehicle.
The chamber usually raises about $50,000 from the event.
Event draws widespread attention
Some of the businesses participating in the raffle hold contests for employees to see who can sell the most tickets.
Throughout the weeks leading up to the raffle, the chamber displays three trucks – one for each color choice – at area businesses.
Businesses participating in the effort can either purchase 10 raffle tickets or sell them for the chamber, Mercantel said.
After 27 years, the “Win a Truck” raffle draws attention from neighboring communities.
“We get a lot of people from Pearland, Alvin and those areas who purchase tickets,” Mercantel said. “If people are leaving town to go on vacation, they’ll stop here to get their tickets first.”
Out of the chamber’s 530 members, about eight businesses are ‘hard-sell’ raffle participants.
Mercantel would like to see the reaction of the winner one day, but at this point, she said, it might be part of the tradition.
“One day,” she said.
Tickets are $10 each and can be purchase by credit card over the phone by calling the chamber at 281-482-3329 or at its offices at 1100 South Friendswood Drive.
Other locations selling tickets include the Shell gas station at FM 2351 and Beamer and Sonic Drive on Friendswood Drive (FM 518). For more information, call the chamber at 281-482-3329.