How many times have you daydreamed about winning the lottery? Do you have images of yourself cashing in your ticket and shaking the lottery commissionerâ€™s hand while the other hand holds that giant cardboard check for $400 million dollars? Many of you have already planned out where those winnings will goâ€"whether or not we ever buy lottery tickets. An overview of Powerballâ€™s biggest winners will help you live vicariously and continue daydreaming about your lucky day.
The largest payoff in Powerball history went to a group of eight meat plant workers at a ConAgra plant. The drawing, held on February 18, 2006, awarded an unprecedented $365 million. The winners ranged in age from 26 to 46 and called Nebraska their home. The eight men bought their winning ticket, one of eight that they purchased, at U-Stop in Lincoln, Nebraska, at 3:09 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17. For over five years, members of the group had been pooling their resources to buy multiple tickets whenever the jackpot rose above $45 million. Each contributed $5 at a time for each drawing. Potential plans for their winnings? â€śWash my truck,â€ť â€śPay billsâ€ť, â€śGet some sleep,â€ť and, â€śContinue working temporarilyâ€ť until their spot is filled.
Another of Powerballâ€™s biggest winners was a group of coworkers known as â€śMissouriâ€™s Lucky 13.â€ť Thirteen Missouri state employees, who work for the Depart of Social Services Family Support Division / Child Support, won the $224 million jackpot on April 12, 2006. Eleven of the thirteen members of the group contributed $5 into the pool, with the remaining two contributing $2.50. The office manager said that new groups within the office were formed for each drawing, depending upon who wanted to participate.
Cashing in on another Powerball jackpot was the West family from Jacksonville, Oregon. This lucky family won two months after lottery rules were changed to promote larger prize payouts. Steve West paid $20 for a group of tickets along with another $20 from his in-laws. The two families split the earnings.
Another of Powerballâ€™s biggest winners is the self-proclaimed â€ś100 Miracles,â€ť a group that collectively won $208 million. A group of 100 workers from Sargento Foods in Wisconsin had been pooling their money for three yearsâ€"with no luck. One of the members of the group had suggested changing the store where they purchased their tickets; another member rebutted that they should rub the belly of a Buddha statue for good luck. Apparently Buddha provided just the luck they needed. Ninety-nine of the winners took cash for a total of $95,821,171.53, and one winner chose the annuity option for $2,035,886.79 (30 payments over 29 years). The â€ś100 Miraclesâ€ť purchased their winning ticketâ€"and all the non-winnersâ€"at a grocery store along whatâ€™s called the â€śMiracle Mile,â€ť a stretch of street responsible for selling several multi-million dollar lottery tickets in the 1990s.
On May 28, 2005, 33-year-old Brad Duke of Idaho won $220.3 million dollars, becoming one of Powerballâ€™s biggest winners. The manager for a local Goldâ€™s Gym had been playing the winning series of numbers for years. He plans to continue working at the gym in order to â€śstay groundedâ€ť despite his new multi-millionaire status. Before coming forth to claim his prize, Duke spent two weeks assembling a team of lawyers, financial advisors, and a publicist.
It is interesting that the majority of Powerballâ€™s biggest winners are blue-collar Americans, many of whom have come together with their coworkers to purchase lottery tickets. Perhaps these lucky folks have inspired you to team up with your colleagues, rub Buddhaâ€™s belly, and hope for a miracle.
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