By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer
On the morning of Dec. 29, one lucky winner of a United Way fund-raising raffle will stand in the O'Rourke Wrecking Co. control room and push a button that will send the walls of Cinergy Field tumbling down.
"It will be a symbolic button," said Mike O'Rourke, president of the company hired by Hamilton County to implode the 32-year-old stadium. "But, for the winner, it will feel like he is bringing it down."
Friday, Hamilton County commissioners and O'Rourke Wrecking announced plans for a raffle - with tickets going for $10 each - to raise money for the United Way and Community Chest.
United Way officials are not sure how much can be raised through the raffle tickets, but three years ago, when Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh was imploded, a similar plan raised about $100,000 for charity.
The winner, to be chosen randomly at the Dec. 18 county commissioners' meeting, will get the opportunity to trigger the implosion O'Rourke officials say will turn the former home of the Reds and Bengals into a pile of concrete and steel in 37 seconds.
The act, Mr. O'Rourke said, has to be symbolic "for liability and safety reasons."
The second-place winner will perform the countdown of the last 10 seconds, while third- and fourth-place winners will get eight tickets each to the VIP viewing area at Paul Brown Stadium.
John Dyass, United Way's vice president for financial resource development, said entry forms will be available beginning Tuesday at the agency's Web site.
Entries should be returned to the United Way's office at 2400 Reading Road, Cincinnati 45202 with a $10 check or money order. The fee can be paid online by credit card.
The commissioners and O'Rourke Wrecking decided to makeUnited Way the beneficiary of the fund-raiser after United Way fell about $1 million short of its fall goal.
The raffle, said County Commissioner John Dowlin, is certain to appeal to the public.
"If you were a kid like me, you always had a secret desire to blow something up," Mr. Dowlin said.
Ex-coroner accused of drug scam
Want to blow up Cinergy Field? Buy a ticket for the chance
Speeches, letters honor Rev. Booth
Sycamore teachers talking strike
IN THE TRISTATE
New displays, kids' activities featured
$100K raised for criminal reviews
Heart device cuts deaths, hospitalization
Obituary: Louis J. Gerwe, ran Bromwell's
Tristate A.M. Report
RADEL: Meeting a need
MCNUTT: Christmas walks
GUTIERREZ: Home-sales slump
FAITH MATTERS: Love served for Thanksgiving
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Portman backs schools in legal fight
Hamilton group wants baseball team by '05
Firm to design Milford park
Clermont kids learn to help those in need
Political parties unite to oppose `eccentric' board member
Ohio ethnic groups hail NATO growth
Malpractice bill contains lawmakers' message for court
Twister wrecks tight city budgets
USDA suspends regional director
Veterans wait for state's second home
N.Ky. market idea gets one OK
Researcher denies fish poaching
Union reps accuse Patton of `bad faith'
Craven did not waver in denials
New hall is on the way
Former Salvation Army worker charged in Christmas toy theft
State may release felons to save money
`Hillbillies' reality show under fire