Interlakes Area United Way's WIN BIG Raffle kicks off on Wednesday. This year's prize is a GEHL skid loader worth more than $37,000. Raffle tickets are $100 each; only 500 will be sold.

The annual contest raises money for IAUW's general fund, which supports community service programs and non-profit agencies in Lake, Miner and Moody counties. It has been growing in popularity in recent years with ticket sales maxing out for the first time in 2019.

"Last year we sold out of tickets, raising $50,000 towards program funding," said Lori Gustaf, IAUW president.

Gustaf said this year's contest may be more important than ever.

"This raffle has always been a crucial element to our local impact," Gustaf said. "Now COVID-19 has left all of us in uncharted territory and there is a lot of uncertainty. We understand it may be a tough year for fund-raising, but there will still be need, and we are up for the challenge."

The winner receives a 2020 GEHL R105 Skid Loader equipped with full cab enclosure, T-bar controls, heater, defroster and a deluxe seat with seat belt and bar. It also features a 60-foot utility bucket, fenders, auxiliary hydraulics, rear counterweight and 10x16.5 HD tires. As equipped, it retails for $37,456.

Lake County International donated the skid steer and is the contest's premier sponsor.

"Once again Lake County International has renewed their commitment to strengthening the region," Gustaf said. "We appreciate their leadership in helping create positive change."

Additional raffle sponsors include First Bank & Trust, Heartland Consumers Power District, East River Electric Power Cooperative, Farm Credit Services of America, Great Western Bank, Dakotaland Federal Credit Union, First Premier Bank, BankWest and Dakota State University.

For a list of physical ticket sales locations or to buy tickets online, visit interlakesunitedway.org. You may also call IAUW at 291-6359 or Lake County International at 256-3521 to purchase a ticket over the phone.

The winner will be drawn in September, tentatively in conjunction with the DSU Ag Bowl.