Powerball Winner Neal Wanless, aged only 23, chose his winning Powerball numbers at Ampride convenience store in a town called, Winning. He won $232.1 million with a selection of birthday dates on 27th May 2009. Wanless and his family definitely need the money, having had a motor home repossessed in the last year and they owe $3,552 in property tax.
Neil looked a typical cowboy in his jeans, hat and shirt, when he came to Pierre to claim his prize. He didn’t stop grinning the whole way through the ceremony, even when he refused to answer questions from the press. It took him a month to come forward to claim his prize, which is the ninth biggest in Powerball history. He said he actually joked to his parents, Arlen and Nancy, on the evening of 27th May that he would need to drive into Pierre the following day, to deposit his winning cheque.
The following morning Wanless was looking at the Powerball results online. He first looked at the Powerball, then the other numbers and he saw that he had the winning numbers of 5, 6, 12, 16, 21, and a Powerball of 7. “I was in shock,” he said, “I don’t remember what I said.” Arlen, his dad remembers, “He whispered real quiet ‘we won.’” The family said the rest of the day was a bit hazy. They did tell a few friends and family members but no one else. Wanless waited a month before walking into the Lottery headquarters and telling them he had the winning jackpot ticket.
“It’s just something you don’t believe could happen to you,” Nancy said. “I slept fine,” Wanless said. Arlen and Nancy both agreed that they didn’t sleep at all.
Neal Wanless lives with his parents on their 320 acre farm, where they farm horses, sheep and cattle. The farm is in Todd County, one of the poorest areas in the States and is home to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Times have been tough recently and Wanless’ Dad has been trying to make ends meet by selling scrap metal, but that has been tough since the price of iron dropped.
Sharon Ulmer, the manager of Ampride convenience store, where Wanless chose his winning Powerball numbers said, “From what I understand they don’t have a lot, so the money definitely went to a good place. I know it went to a good home. They can use it.”
County Assessor and family friend, Cathy Vrbka said, “I hope they enjoy their money. They work hard, backbreaking hard work.”
Dave Assman, who lives on the farm next door to the Wanless’ said, “They’ve been short on finances for a long time. They are from real meagre means, I guess you’d say.”
Dave Storms was one of many people to say that the Wanless’ win, “just couldn’t have happened to better people. Everyone in the area talks about what hardworking people they are and they definitely deserve this big break. People in the area describe Wanless as “a typical hardworking South Dakotan, a good hard-working kid.”
Even when Neal had seen the Powerball results and he knew he was the jackpot winner, he just carried on working. The hay baling machine needed repairing as baling was about to begin. He needed to collect a tractor which had been in for repair and do general chores around the farm.
Winless has decided to take the cash payout of $118,005,530, which after taxes will amount to $88,504,147. He bought his tickets while going into town to buy animal feed and spent $15 on his tickets. Believe it or not, he actually won another $100 on another one of his Powerball tickets.
Ampride convenience store will get a payment of $50,000 for selling the ticket. “Everyone here is very excited about selling the winning lottery ticket,” the manager said. “We sold about 400 for this big drawing.”
Winless has decided to take the cash payout of $118,005,530, which after taxes will amount to $88,504,147. He bought his tickets while going into town to buy animal feed and spent $15 on his tickets. Believe it or not, he actually won another $100 on another one of his Powerball tickets. Ampride convenience store will get a payment of $50,000 for selling the ticket.
“Everyone here is very excited about selling the winning lottery ticket,” the manager said. “We sold about 400 for this big drawing.”