Rowan County man collects N.C.'s first million-dollar jackpot
The winning numbers on the Powerball sign looked familiar to Victor "Buddy" Poplin on Thursday morning.
He was making his usual visit to the East Side Kwik Stop convenience store, a couple blocks from home in Granite Quarry, in Rowan County. He got out his ticket and quickly learned he was North Carolina's first winner of $1 million, the biggest prize yet in the state's two-month-old lottery and one of three million-dollar lottery prizes claimed Thursday in the Carolinas.
Poplin, 66, went on to his job as a pretrial release coordinator for the county, asked for the day off and corralled a couple buddies to ride with him to Raleigh to claim his prize.
He said he had sought a little help from the Lord to pick the numbers.
"I had a little talk and prayer with him first," Poplin said, " 'Just lead me where you want me to go.' "
The numbers were based on inspirational moments in his life. Poplin spent $40 on tickets a week and a half ago for the first four Powerball drawings.
That investment won him $200,000 Wednesday night. Poplin, though, had paid an additional $1 for the Power Play option, which multiplies the winnings by a selected number, which on Wednesday night was five.
After taxes, he will receive $680,000. He's already designated 10 percent for his church, which he declined to identify, and said he has grandchildren with whom he will share, and his wife, Ann, to help him spend it.
North Carolina has participated in Powerball for less than two weeks and has racked up an impressive run of winners, boasting one of two $200,000 winners nationally on both May 31 and June 3 and three of nine winners Wednesday. A player who picks the first five numbers but not the Powerball receives $200,000.
In its first three drawings, North Carolina had the highest Powerball sales of any state and more winners in every prize category.
South Carolina on Thursday also scored a Powerball ticket worth $1 million. A group of seven dispatchers in the Greenville-Spartanburg area won $200,000 and had added a Power Play. Larry Williams of Fayetteville won $1 million on a South Carolina scratch-off ticket he claimed Thursday.