Kevin Green was driving a forklift at work last week when he heard a North Dakota Powerball outlet had sold a $1 million ticket. He didn't think twice about the news, until he heard where the prize winner was sold — at the Williston convenience store where Green normally buys his tickets.
Green, who had bought 25 Powerball tickets before the March 15 drawing, began scanning the rows of numbers on the slips of paper he pulled from his pocket.
"I was looking down the line and nothin', nothin', nothin'," Green said. "The very bottom row, they just started matching."
Green on Tuesday claimed the biggest prize awarded since the North Dakota Lottery began selling Powerball tickets almost exactly two years ago, on March 25, 2004.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem presented Green with a check for $694,600, the amount left after state and federal taxes are withheld.
Green, 48, said he intends to pay off his pickup and his daughter's pickup, help his daughter with her college tuition and set aside money for his own retirement.
He said he intends to keep working at his job driving a forklift at Black Hills Trucking of Williston, which serves the oil industry.
Green is a native of the area — he graduated from Alexander High School in 1976 — and his parents live on a farm south of Williston, in McKenzie County.
After holding the winning ticket for five days, Green showed up at the North Dakota Lottery's office at the Capitol unannounced on Tuesday to claim his prize. He left Williston about 6 a.m. to drive to Bismarck.
Asked why he took so long to cash in the ticket, Green replied: "Getting a day off."
The Powerball lottery game, which has drawings on Wednesdays and Saturdays, involves matching six numbers on a ticket, which costs $1. The sixth number is called the Powerball number.
Someone who matches all six numbers on the ticket wins the Powerball jackpot, which varies in size. It is now $101 million. A player who matches the first five numbers, but not the Powerball number, wins $200,000, which is the game's biggest prize short of the jackpot.
Players have the chance of multiplying lesser prizes if they buy the "Power Play" option with their ticket, which costs an extra $1. The Power Play option raised the price of Green's 25 tickets from $25 to $50, but the extra $25 multiplied his prize five times, to $1 million.
He does not normally buy that many tickets, but "I sensed something that day," Green said.
The odds of matching the first five numbers in a Powerball drawing are one in 3.56 million, according to the Multistate Lottery Association, an Iowa organization that administers the game. The odds of matching all six numbers for the Powerball jackpot are one in 146.1 million.
On Green's winning ticket, his Powerball number was 34. If it had been 37, he would have won the Powerball jackpot, which at the time was $75 million.
"It does kind of frustrate you when you're that close to the Powerball, you know," Green said. "But I'm happy with what I got."