Lakewood Ranch Herald

$1 buys $222M of dreams

MANATEE — Allison Nash and her daughter Virginia, 12, already knew what they would do with the $222 million Powerball jackpot they hoped to win Wednesday night by buying a $1 ticket from cashier Mike McGrath at a Chevron convenience store on State Road 70 near Lorraine Road.

“Another horse for me and also one for my friend, Dylan Patterson,” said Virginia, who already has two quarter horses she keeps at Tammy Feldmann’s Performance Horses in Myakka City.

The Powerball jackpot that the Nashes had their eyes on had rolled over 13 times since April 11, resulting in the largest lottery jackpot in the nation for Wednesday.

The $222 million jackpot was also the highest since Florida joined Powerball on Jan. 4, according to the Florida Lottery.

Store officials at various Manatee County lottery outlets indicated that Powerball ticket sales had been brisk all day Wednesday.

McGrath was calm as he watched the lottery machine punch out five “quick-pick” numbers and a sixth Powerball number and wished the Nashes well. After all, he knows that the odds of the Nashes winning this largest jackpot since Florida joined 29 other states with Powerball are one in 195 million, but that could be some tip for the clerk who sold the ticket.

“Ten percent would be nice,” McGrath told the Nashes with a grin.

The regular Florida Lotto’s odds, in which players just have to match six numbers without having to pick the exact Powerball number, are one in 23 million.

But the odds weren’t discouraging players just hours before the numbers were to be drawn.

Virginia Nash, who attends Bradenton Christian School, said she would like to use some Powerball winnings for a turkey and horse farm in Texas.

“She loves to go turkey hunting,” Allison Nash said of her daughter, who plans to attend the University of Florida and become a veterinarian unless the money changes her.

As for Allison and her husband, John, they will share with family and those less fortunate and travel a bit with what is left.

Bradenton home repair specialist Troy Ingram didn’t have to think for more than several seconds when asked what he would do with the $222 million. Winners could take a lump-sum payment of $113 million in cash.

“I’m out of here,” Ingram said. “I won’t even stop to buy a new truck. I’m on my way to Georgia, North Carolina or Alaska. You can find me in the middle of 1,000 acres, taking care of the whitetail deer population.”

Ingram does plan to take care of family and friends, but they better get a GPS to track him down.

It’s no secret where Dannie Wilson, who lives off Cortez Road in Manatee County, will be with his winnings. “Hawaii,” he said with a big smile.

Family members served in the Armed Forces at Pearl Harbor and Wilson has always wanted to go to Hawaii. A lot of traveling will precede the trip over the Pacific Ocean, however.

Although Wilson has seen people buy 10 and 20 tickets for this Powerball, he let the machine just pick one.

“It only takes one to win,” he said with a smile.