Aire Serv's February Deep Freeze contest winner

From left, Chad Thacker and Chris Higginbotham of Hy-Vee present Pat Higgins of Council Bluffs a deep freeze and $299 worth of meat for winning Aire Serv's February Deep Freeze contest.

As Pat Higgins unloaded a box of meat from Hy-Vee into her new deep freeze, she was amazed at the variety of cuts and kinds she’d just won.

The first box had 8 pounds of steak, two racks of ribs, three wraps of top sirloin fillets and plenty more. And that was just the lighter of the two containers.

Higgins was the grand prize winner of Aire Serv’s February Deep Freeze contest for predicting the coldest day, coldest temperature and total snowfall for the month of February to win a new deep freeze and a $299 package of meat from Hy-Vee.

“I was like, ‘I’ll never win this, but I’ve got to try,’” Higgins said.

Her predictions topped a field of about 1,000 entries gathered through Hy-Vee’s two Council Bluffs stores, forms mailed to The Nonpareil and online submissions to claim the top prize.

The coldest day in the month was Feb. 1, with a low temperature of minus-3 degrees. A total of 9.3 inches of snow fell in the month.

Although Higgins picked Feb. 2 as the coldest day, she guessed the temperature exactly and was only 0.3 inches short on the snowfall.

“I was in the flow that day,” she said.

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Jessica Hammermeister was a very close second, and Amanda Riddle and Richard Maisel tied for third place. All three will receive a $99 meat bundle from Hy-Vee.

Higgins and her husband are unemployed, making the win that much more meaningful to them – essentially “the answer to our prayers,” she said.

For someone who’s going back to school, Higgins added, two full boxes of a variety of meats and a new freezer will go a long way.

“It came out of the blue,” she said, “and I think we’re having the extended family over for Easter.”

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