Powerball Winner Jonathan Vargas, a graduate from Airport High School, Gaston, South Carolina, was only nineteen years old when he won the Powerball prize of $35.3 million on the 17th May 2008.
Vargas said it was God who gave him the winning numbers and he was not going to let him down.
Jonathan said that on Saturday 17th May, he was working on the construction site where he is employed as a construction worker when “this weird feeling came over me. He said someone told him the Powerball results for that night – in his head. The only piece of paper he had, was a paper napkin, so he quickly wrote down the numbers and then rang his mother so she could write them down somewhere safe, and he would go and buy a lottery ticket later. Vargas bought his Powerball ticket from Cayce Raceway Station, together with petrol and an iced tea.
The numbers which Vargas heard were 12, 14, 15, 21, 43, and the Powerball of 30. The first five numbers are the ages which his siblings and his mother will turn this year. The Powerball was an expiry date on a juice carton.
Vargas only listened to the first three numbers of the Powerball results and he knew he had won. “When I got to the third number, I knew I had it, I was jumping up and down. I was outside the door on my grass thanking God. I didn’t even hear the rest but I knew I had it.”
At the press conference, Jonathan Vargas appeared a mature young man and said that “Investing money was very important. I have my family to protect and help secure their futures.” He says, “Right now, there’s no real plan in the works.” He intends to employ a lawyer and financial adviser and use his aunt as his accountant. He has opted to take the cash payout of $17.3 million.
Vargas wants to set up trust funds for his siblings – three brothers and a sister. He says he also wants to honour his mother, by buying her a new house. At the moment they live in a house with four bedrooms and two bathrooms in Gaston. Vargas says he will definitely be donating money to his local church and is looking at going to college to further his education, something he would never have been able to do before winning his Powerball prize.
Both Vargas’ parents are unemployed and he has now said that he will not be going back to work. He said, “You never ask the Lord why you are blessed. I’m confident in him just as much as he’s confident in me, just believe.” Vargas added, “I have a mixture of feelings. Scary. Exciting. Still shaking. I’m still telling my mother to pinch me.”
Jonathan Vargas said that he will be employing a bodyguard as he has been getting a lot of threats. He is worried that receiving a Powerball prize as big as this one, will bring unsavoury people out of the woodwork. “I’ve been getting a lot of warnings from friends I trust that the word is going around. ‘People are plotting on you,’” said Vargas.
Jonathan Vargas has been invited onto the Dr. Phil show. Producers have approached him and would like him to talk to people about what it is like to win the big Powerball prize.
He is not sure whether he will accept the offer, “I don’t want too much exposure in my neighbourhood,” he said.
Perhaps Jonathan Vargas was not as mature as he appeared at the lottery press conference. When later interviewed by the Tampa Tribune, he told them that he liked to party hard. He said he was extremely ambitious which was why the partying didn’t stop him from succeeding. Vargas said his real loves in life were hot women and professional wrestling.
Vargas decided to buy a TV production company which would be used to combine his two loves and produce a TV show. He called it Wrestlicious. The TV show featured attractive women wrestling in staged fights. The show first aired in 2010. Vargas was asked whether he thought this venture was a good way to spend his Powerball prize, “I think it was. Time will tell of course. It certainly has been an awesome learning experience. Best case, we have a huge hit.
Worst case, I have a tax write-off.” The show flopped and rumour has it that Jonathan Vargas is now broke.