Two million reasons to $mile

Lucky winner in Clifton hits five of six Powerball numbers

Brian Hodges, who owns East Valley Liquors and the laundromat next door with his wife Theresa, found out Thursday morning that a customer at the liquor store had purchased one of two winning $2 million Powerball tickets sold in Colorado at the lottery machine in front of him. East Valley Liquors is located at 418 32 Road, Unit A, in Clifton.

Someone is $2 million richer after purchasing a $3 Powerball ticket at a liquor store in Clifton.

The winner, who had not officially checked their ticket at a kiosk as of noon Thursday, purchased the ticket at East Valley Liquors, 418 32 Road, according to Colorado Lottery officials. The odds of winning the $2 million prize was 1 in nearly 5.2 million, according to lottery information.

The winner matched five of five winning numbers but missed the Powerball number. The winner in Clifton purchased the Powerplay option for an additional $1, which doubled the prize from $1 million to $2 million. The winning five numbers from Wednesday’s drawing were 5, 25, 30, 58 and 59. The Powerball number was 32, which three people hit nationwide, splitting the $448 million jackpot.

“It’s very exciting,” said Bonnie Higgins, who works at East Valley Liquors. “I can’t wait to find out who it is. Sadly, they may not know yet.”

Colorado was the only state to have two $2 million Powerball winners as part of the third largest-ever Powerball jackpot. Two winners in New Jersey and one winner in Minnesota will share that prize. The other $2 million winning ticket in Colorado was sold in the tiny town of Calhan in El Paso County at Fuel-B’s, 23580 Highway 94, lottery officials said.

“I have a feeling it is one of the higher payouts,” Colorado Lottery spokeswoman Heather Black said of the winnings at the Clifton store. “It’s good news for Colorado.”

Employees at East Valley Liquors said they would keep their eyes out for folks checking their tickets at their store. If the winning ticket is inserted into the kiosk, the winner would see a screen that congratulates them and shows information to contact the local lottery office. The winning amount is not listed on the screen and anyone who wins a prize over $599 would be told to contact their local lottery office, Black said.

As the Powerball jackpot ballooned earlier this week, ticket sales between Saturday and Wednesday for this drawing in Mesa County were five times higher than normal, Black said. A total of $4.8 million in tickets were sold across Colorado for this jackpot, while average sales for a draw across the state are about $1 million, Black said.

Anyone who wins more than $1,000 is listed in the winners’ section of the website for the Colorado Lottery, Also listed on the site are the stores where people have purchased lottery tickets that win big. For example, on April 26, City Market on Orchard Mesa, 2770 U.S. Highway 50, sold three winning Powerball tickets for a combined more than $1 million. Albertsons, 2512 Broadway, sold a winning $1 million Powerball ticket on Oct. 27, 2011, and the Horizon Shell, 745 Horizon Drive, sold a $1 million Powerball ticket on April 14, 2010.

Black said people with winning tickets have 180 days to claim their prize. Some folks wait right up until the deadline, but “most of the time we see them here within a week,” she said.

“We always encourage people to seek financial counsel before they come in to claim,” she said. “Then they can find out if they want to take it in cash or annuity.”

East Valley Liquors might be a lucky place to purchase lottery tickets. Store manager Cyndi Blair purchased a $10 scratch ticket there two years ago for a Christmas present for her sister-in-law. It won $50,000, she said.

Store owner Brian Hodges said he purchased 10 Powerball tickets for this drawing, but he assured he wasn’t the winner.

He did notice more patrons buying Powerball tickets as the jackpot started to swell. In a way, Hodges is a winner. His store receives $3,000 for selling this winning Powerball ticket. And, if more people are likely to stop by and check their tickets at the counter, that may translate to more alcohol sales.

“It’s nice that somebody in Colorado won,” Hodges said.

Even those who didn’t win are helping out by buying tickets, Black said. Lottery ticket sales have pumped $51 million into Mesa County in the past 30 years to fund park and recreation projects. Lottery dollars funded a $9 million grant to the Colorado Riverfront Trail; $6.3 million for the Colorado River State Park system and $1.4 million for Canyon View Park, just to name a few projects, the state’s lottery website reported.


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