August 5, 2006
Wisconsin Group Claims $208.6 Million Powerball Jackpot !
A group of 100 lucky winners of an August 5th $208.6 million Powerball jackpot have come forward and submitted their winning ticket to the Wisconsin Lottery. The winners, calling themselves the “100 Miracles,” formed a lottery pool as employees at Sargento Foods, in Plymouth, Wisconsin.
The group had been pooling their money for tickets for three years without any luck. They had considered changing stores where they purchased the tickets but then a member suggested rubbing the belly of a Buddha statue, which some believe to be good luck.
"We don't know if it's the Buddha that brought us the good fortune to win this. We don't know if it was our prayers to God that were answered," said Mary Entringer, who organized the pool. "We're just grateful it was 100 people, and we're all going to share in this bounty." The winners will share the jackpot equally.
Entringer spoke during a news conference with about 75 of the winners Wednesday in front of Ma and Pa's Grocery Express in Fond du Lac , where they bought the ticket. The store will receive $100,000 for the win.
Never before have so many people won so much money in a lottery. "This is the most winners splitting a jackpot in Powerball history nationwide," the Wisconsin Lottery's Director Mike Edmonds said.
The grocery store where the tickets were purchased is along a stretch of street where several stores sold multimillion-dollar tickets during the 1990's. The stretch of stores has come to be known as the “Miracle Mile.” The lottery and the town decided that the size of the jackpot and the number of winners justified closing down several blocks of Main Street in Fond du Lac for several hours.
"The people in Fond du Lac want to have this hoopla, Ma and Pa want to have this hoopla, so we're having a party today," Edmonds said.
Inside a tent set up in front of the Ma & Pa's grocery, the hoopla included handing out 100 facsimile checks to each winner in the amount of the $208 million Powerball jackpot.
Wisconsin state statutes require a court order to split the prize. A Lottery official said they expected to receive one in a couple weeks. Each person can pick either the lump sum or installments: most said they would take the lump sum.
People who pick the installment plan will receive about $1.4 million after taxes. Lottery spokeswoman Jessica Iverson said they will get annual payments for 30 years, with the first about $25,000 and the last about $79,000 after taxes.
Note: 99 Winners took cash for $95,821,171.53. One winner chose the annuity for $2,035,886.79 (30 payments over 29 years).