Tom Vilsack got lucky. Like, $150,000 worth of lucky.
That was the value of the lottery prize the former Iowa governor and U.S. agriculture secretary claimed Monday after matching five of six numbers in the Jan. 22 Powerball drawing.
Vilsack bought a ticket last month at a Hy-Vee Supermarket in his hometown of Waukee, Iowa, when the jackpot grew to an estimated $347 million.
“Occasionally when the Powerball gets above $250 million, I think, ‘What the heck?’ You know, you can dream, like everybody else,” he told Iowa Lottery officials when he claimed the prize.
But, he said, he promptly forgot about the tickets.
“I woke up 10 days later on a Saturday morning and I said, ‘Oh, geez, I wonder how I did?’ ” Vilsack said.
Pretty well, it turned out. The winning numbers were 11, 33, 44, 59, 67, and the Powerball was 8. On one of his easy-pick plays, he matched four of five white numbers, plus the red Powerball number.
“I said, ‘My gosh, I got every number but one!’ ” Vilsack told lottery officials. “So then it was, ‘Well, geez, when you get every number but one, surely they’ve got to give you like $10 or something.’”
Nope. A lot more than that. Since he had also paid $1 extra to add a “Power Play” multiplier, the $50,000 prize was tripled.
At first, Vilsack said, his wife, Christie, couldn’t believe it.
“I said, ‘Geez, honey, actually I won $150,000,’ ” Vilsack recalled. “She said, ‘No you didn’t!’ I said, ‘No, look at this.’ And I gave her the ticket.”
She told him to have their son Jess, who lives next door, double-check the ticket.
Still a winner.
Vilsack said he will give some money to his church and some to his children. The rest will go to paying down his mortgage.
The next Powerball drawing is Wednesday. The estimated jackpot is $70 million, or a cash prize of $49.8 million.
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