Taking a chance on midway games at the 1980 Calgary Stampede
A CBC News reporter set out to test the odds on winning prizes playing games at the fair
When CBC reporter John Cranston headed to the Calgary Stampede midway in 1980 he went armed with the knowledge that, "thanks to the police and to the carnival operators themselves, you can be almost sure that most of the games are honest."
He was there to answer the perennial question of Stampede and fair games players everywhere — what are the odds?
And so, with "five of the CBC's dollars," he spent the afternoon on the midway, trying to win at some of the more popular games, and — perhaps no surprise here — the odds weren't great.
First up, at "toss the ball in the milk can," he found that it likely wasn't for want of technique that he walked away without a prize — as he claimed the odds for that one were only 1 in 50.
Moving on, Cranston made details on the popular "toss the coin in the glass" game a little more transparent.
There a win seemed more likely, except really the winner was generally the game, since, as he summed up, "the glasses you win aren't worth much more than the money you pay to play."
Next was the ball in the bushel basket. Cranston cautioned its rules were a little more complicated, with odds that were still only "about 1 in 40."
The good news? His Stampede game roundup offered up a couple of possibilities of easy wins, including "the ever-popular string pull" although "only a few, very few" of the strings were attached to the bigger prizes.
And of course last, but not least, there was always the fishing game, which had netted at least one happy Stampede visitor a plastic pineapple necklace.