Small Town is Big on Lottery Luck Group of 31 from Minnesota Share $200,000 Powerball® Prize
A group of 31 people, who are all regular customers at the Popple Bar in the small town of Laporte, have a big reason to celebrate — the group won a $200,000 Powerball prize on Sept. 26.
Bruce Geckler, who is a bartender at the Popple Bar, has been running the Powerball pool for the last seven years. “It’s a great way to get the community together and have fun,” he said. “It gives them a reason to stop in and see us.”
Thirty-one regulars stopped in to contribute $5 each for the Powerball drawing on Saturday, Sept. 26. The following morning, Geckler checked the group’s tickets and discovered that one of them matched the first five numbers drawn to win a $200,000 prize. “I couldn’t believe it,” Geckler recalled. “You want to win, but you don’t really expect to.”
It didn’t take long for the rest of the group members to discover their windfall. “Almost everyone found out at the bar on Sunday,” explained Geckler. “I’ve never seen the bar so upbeat — everyone was chattering and happy. You could just feel the tempo in the bar lift up.” Laporte Grocery & Meat, located at 20 E. Main St. in Laporte, sold the winning ticket.
Ten Iowa Co-Workers Claim $1 Million Power Play
A group of 10 co-workers from a Des Moines tire-manufacturing plant stepped forward recently to claim a $1 million Powerball prize they’d won with a ticket purchased at a local convenience store for the October 10th Powerball drawing. The co-workers who all produce agricultural tires at the Des Moines Firestone plant are calling themselves “The Local 310 Ten” because they’re all members of Local 310 of the United Steelworkers Union. They’ve pooled their money to buy Powerball tickets together for about five years and made for a happy bunch as news of their good fortune spread.
“I’ve been coming to grips with it since 11:15 p.m. Saturday night (night of draw) when I called in and read the numbers and was actually disappointed because we didn’t have any Powerballs on our ticket,” said Dan Kelley of Urbandale, who buys the group’s tickets. “And low and behold, there it was on the bottom line, the last one on the ticket. And I just had to sit back and take a deep breath and call the Iowa Lottery once again to double-check my numbers on the verification line.”
Kelley bought the group’s winning ticket at Casey’s, 4560 E. 14th St. in Des Moines. It was the only ticket in the nation to win a $1 million prize in that drawing. When the Powerball game was redesigned in January, one of the changes made was specifically for the prize you win if your ticket matches the first five numbers and you’ve added the Power Play. The prize for that play is always $1 million, no matter what the Power Play number is for that drawing.
Kelley’s wife, Susan, won a $100,000 Powerball prize in 2005 and hadn’t added the Power Play to her ticket, so her prize wasn’t multiplied. Kelley said that’s when the group decided to start playing the Power Play. Don Root, 56, of Ankeny, is another member of the group. He said he found out about their good fortune about 5 a.m. Sunday after the draw when Kelley called him, rousing him from sleep to tell him how much they’d won. “He said we’d won and he told me how much. I just kind of said, ‘Yeah,” and I hung the phone up,” Root said. “I went over and sat down and kind of realized what he’d told me and the adrenaline kind of hit. It took about 20 minutes to hit and then I realized what he’d actually said.”
As the group claimed its prize, the members of The Local 310 Ten were pooling their money to buy more tickets for the next drawing. As always, Kelley checked off the names in the pool in his notebook. “We’ve all got a bond because we’re after the same goal and that’s products made in America and to keep America going,” he said.
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