For the last four months, “Cowboy” Dan Kroffat has been saving his pennies — and everyone else’s.
When the former Stampede Wrestling star heard that the Canadian Mint was going to stop production of the one cent coin, he thought it would be fun to collect pennies for charity.
“I got the idea from the Minister of Finance in May when he was at the last penny press at the mint,” said Kroffat. “He had suggested all Canadian give their pennies to charities. So I started a campaign.”
The goal was to collect a ton of pennies and donate the money to the charity Right to Play, which uses “the power of sport and play for development, health and peace” in disadvantaged areas worldwide.
“Well, this has gone crazy,” Kroffat confessed. “I have over a ton.”
The Ton of Pennies weigh-in is Friday in Cochrance, Alberta, and Federal finance minister Jim Flaherty may be there to add the last penny to the heap. Cochrane residents are invited to come out for the 12 noon weigh-in at ATB Financial, 280 5 Ave., and are encouraged to bring their pennies to add to what will surely be a record-setting event.
“We invite everyone to come to the ATB at 12 noon for the final weigh-in,” said Kroffat. “We guarantee it will be over one ton and we invite people to bring their pennies and enjoy this historical moment.”
The cache of pennies will be brought to the ATB by a horse-drawn stagecoach with eight riders protecting the cargo, said Kroffat. Finance minister Flaherty is scheduled to be in Calgary that day and there is a chance he will be coming out for this momentous affair.
“The finance minister executive assistant has been in touch with us and says the minister hopes he can make an appearance,” said Kroffat. “He (Flaherty) has been following it and it tickles his interest.”
Flaherty has already written to Kroffat, offering up his support and congratulations on a job well done.
“The realization of your campaign goal is a testament to both your selfless work and the generosity of the people of Cochrane and the surrounding areas.” Flaherty wrote. “Your achievement of not only realizing your goals, but considerably surpassing them is admirable and we join you in celebrating it.”
Just exactly what the final weigh-in will be is a mystery to all, but it’s definitely over one ton and will establish a record for the most holding of pennies outside of the Canadian Mint.
The goal is to raise $25,000 to benefit the children of Benin in Western Africa. And thanks to corporation sponsorships each penny contributed by residents will equal four cents.
“We’re receiving contributions of three pennies for every penny raised, so in essence a ton of pennies is going to be four tons of pennies in actual value,” said Kroffat last week.
To put it in perspective, 100 lbs. of pennies is $176 and with additional pledges that becomes $704 per 100 lbs. With the pennies received to date that puts the fund raising drive well over $14,000.
Kroffat is confident this will be exceeded and hopes the drive will raise $16,000 to $20,000.
— with files from the Cochrane Times