SACRAMENTO, CALIF. - Ten lucky meeting professionals hoped to recreate the California Gold Rush at the Sacramento Convention & Visitor Bureau's (SCVB) Discover Gold Sweepstakes Grand Prize Event. The finalists were hoping to beat the odds and win the grand prize of $1 million.

While the million dollars is safe for one more year, Billey Skarles of the California-Hawaii Elks Association was the evening's big winner, collecting $1,300 in the "Gold Case Game." Nine other finalists each won cash prizes ranging from $500 to $900.

From December 2009 to August 2010, more than 1,000 trade show and event attendees visited the SCVB booth hoping to enter the Discover Gold Sweepstakes. Nearly 175 attendees ultimately qualified with the winning barcode, and 10 of them were randomly selected for the grand prize event.

"The contest has proved to be a great ice breaker with people who, in many cases, didn't know much about Sacramento and are now interested in bringing a group to the area," said Steve Hammond, president & CEO of the SCVB. "This promotion has been a great venture for us as the contacts that we've generated have allowed us to bring significant new business to this community."

The finalists were treated to a tour of Sacramento concluding with a stop at the Sacramento Convention Center, where the grand prize event took place. At the grand prize event, each of the finalists received 20 "envelopes," with three of the envelopes containing the words "Sacramento," "Discover" and "Gold." The contestants were then asked to select three envelopes; if someone's envelopes had contained the three winning words, that finalist would have won the $1 million grand prize.

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