A Columbus couple who had offered their 6,200-square-foot log home west of the city to the winner of an essay contest have canceled the competition and are refunding entries.

In an announcement on social media, house owners Timothy and Deanna Railing cited a contest rule that at least 4,500 entries were needed for the contest.

Despite a great deal of interest, few people actually entered or submitted an essay, the Railings said in a message to those who had entered.

“At this point, the number of essays that would need to be received exceeds the amount that we are able to process before the contest deadline,” the couple wrote to entrants. “We expect to have all refunds processed by Oct. 15.”

The Railings offered the home and the surrounding 4.82 acres as the prize in the essay contest after trying unsuccessfully to sell the home through traditional means. Entries consisted of a 250-word essay on “A Life Well Lived,” and a $150 entry free.

The winner was to have received the home, which has four bedrooms, four bathrooms and a heated indoor pool. It is at 8950 W. Old Nashville Road off State Road 46.

The contest began June 15, and the couple had planned to accept entries through Nov. 16, with the winner being announced Dec. 31.

The Railings did not return a telephone call seeking more information about what their plans are for the home.

The essay contest rules allowed the couple to suspend the contest if it failed to generate the needed number of entries specified in the rules.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.