Fifteen years ago today, the eight winners of what was then the nation's largest lottery jackpot stepped forward to raucous applause at a press conference in Lincoln, describing hiding out for 3½ days and feeling the uncertainty of sharing a $365 million jackpot.
When the eight co-workers of the Cook's ham plant in Lincoln won the record Powerball jackpot, they called Lincoln attorney James Hoppe.
Hoppe said he shared a couple of beers and a shot of Crown Royal with the winners, but they didn't appear to be "living it up."
The winners were: Dung Tran, Quang Dao, Eric Zornes, David Gehle, Michael Terpstra, Robert Stewart, Alain Maboussou and Chasity Rutjens. All eight took the cash option and, after taxes, each received about $15.5 million.
One by one the winners stepped to the podium to talk about becoming instant millionaires. The loudest reactions came when the winners said they planned to stay in Nebraska. All had worked at the steam-belching ham-processing plant from three to 22 years.
Dung Tran purchased the winning ticket along with some 50 other tickets at a U-Stop convenience store, about two blocks from the Conagra plant.
He hid the winning ticket in his underwear beneath his blue jeans until it was turned in to lottery officials the day before the press conference, during a meeting at their attorney's office.