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One year later, Powerball still treats them well

Feb 19, 2007, 10:26 am

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After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: One year later, Powerball still treats them wellRating:

Mike Terpstra could dream with the best of his lottery-playing co-workers at a Lincoln ham-processing plant.

What, they wondered, would they do if they won?

Terpstra fantasized about buying a remote tropical island, like one that actor Marlon Brando owned, or purchasing the Christina O, the luxury personal yacht in the fleet of the late shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.

Either would be a warm escape from the chilly conditions in the ConAgra Foods plant.

But a year after he and seven co-workers split a still-record Powerball jackpot of $365 million, Terpstra says the lifestyle of an overnight multimillionaire is much less lavish.

"I'm still me," the 48-year-old former graveyard-shift sanitation supervisor said as he sat on an overstuffed leather couch in his new, $470,000 home in southeast Lincoln.

"The most extravagant thing I've done is I've started to play golf. I'm pretty practical."

Terpstra and two other lottery winners spoke publicly for the first time about the blessings — and burdens — of winning $15.5 million: the lump sum amount each winner received.

Their comments, official records and interviews with relatives, friends and neighbors of other winners show that they've mostly been cautious since the amazing story broke about eight laborers from a steam-belching meat-processing plant — including refugees from Vietnam and Africa — hitting the jackpot on Feb. 18, 2006.

While they've mostly gone their separate ways, all still have homes in Nebraska.

"This is paradise right here," Eric Zornes, 41, said as he surveyed the 160-acre deer-hunting and bass-fishing retreat he purchased near Cook, Neb. — a spread he calls Easy Acres.

The winners have purchased new cars, including BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes, and taken trips.

Instead of going to work, they're playing golf and racquetball, toying with race cars, studying business and, in one case, buying businesses.

Those interviewed said they appreciate the reaction of Nebraskans, who have largely respected the winners' privacy and not hounded them for money.

None has burned through the sudden wealth.

"We're all pretty level-headed," said David Gehle, 54, leaning on a new Toro snowblower as he cleared the driveways of two neighbors.

For years, published reports have indicated that a sizable number of lottery winners wind up bankrupt. But there appears to be little or no authoritative research supporting that.

Jim Hoppe, the Lincoln attorney who represented all eight winners initially and still represents three, said that, on the whole, they've been more conservative with their winnings than he might have been.

"There's a common perception that they're working folks and they won't know how to hang onto their money. I don't think that's the way it is. They know the value of a dollar and to keep themselves out of trouble," Hoppe said.

The attorney expects reporters' requests for interviews to pick up with the anniversary. They had faded, he said, along with the oddball pleas for money, including pitches to finance moving a firearms company to Lincoln and investing in an oilfield.

The lottery winners, he said, generally want to live quiet lives. Except for the stressful moments in the national spotlight a year ago, they are enjoying their lives of financial luxury.

"Everyone says people want to be rich and famous. I don't think these (winners) wanted to be famous or gain any great notoriety," Hoppe said.

Omaha World-Herald

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13 comments. Last comment 14 years ago by sirbrad.
Page 1 of 1
Litebets27's avatar - power
Maryland
United States
Member #10465
January 14, 2005
6252 Posts
Offline

Now, that's what I like, success stories like theirs. Sometimes, after reading all of those horror stories of those who burn through their winnings and end up miserable sometimes make you stop and think, "is it really worth it to win a really large jackpot?"

I feel that I will be a pretty level headed winner. I don't aspire to be a famous or publicly noted person.

Good examples like thesewill keep me playing the big jackpots.

Congrats again to those winners.

litebets

Feeling,  PRICELESS!!!Banana

Come on Jackpot!!!

    MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
    50
    Beautiful Florida
    United States
    Member #5709
    July 18, 2004
    24421 Posts
    Offline

    Now, that's what I like, success stories like theirs. Sometimes, after reading all of those horror stories of those who burn through their winnings and end up miserable sometimes make you stop and think, "is it really worth it to win a really large jackpot?"

    I feel that I will be a pretty level headed winner. I don't aspire to be a famous or publicly noted person.

    Good examples like thesewill keep me playing the big jackpots.

    Congrats again to those winners.

    litebets

    I couldn't agree more Litebets...!

                                                 

                                                   "Slander becomes the tool of the loser when the debate is lost." - Socrates.

      justxploring's avatar - villiarna
      Wandering Aimlessly
      United States
      Member #25359
      November 5, 2005
      4461 Posts
      Offline

      Good Story!  

      I believe this type of story is more common than not.  After all, if someone works hard for a living, he knows what it's like to worry about the next rent payment, so he'll be very grateful for this blessing, realizing that being frivolous and irresponsible will hurt his family.  The people who blow their winnings are usually irresponsible to begin with. I think the judgments I always read about the working class are very insulting.  Not that these families were poor to begin with, but this country often synonymizes wealth with intelligence and poverty with stupidity.  I've known a lot of stupid rich people.

        chasingadream's avatar - Archangel 01.jpg

        United States
        Member #38686
        May 3, 2006
        315 Posts
        Offline

        wow.....this is a great story. I'm really happy for all of them. I'm so glad that it's brought joy instead of sorrow to their lives

        Oogle  waiting patiently for my jackpot

          Avatar
          MI
          United States
          Member #20228
          August 14, 2005
          61 Posts
          Offline

          Congrats to 7 lucky and sane winners. It's nice to hear about people winning and not going crazy with the money.Smile

            dphillips's avatar - littleuns
            Albuquerque, New Mexico
            United States
            Member #5128
            June 18, 2004
            377 Posts
            Offline

            Blessings and peace!

            See Ya!-- Bye, bye!  When you win, may you glow as brightly as theSun Smiley

              wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

              United States
              Member #15143
              May 10, 2005
              454 Posts
              Offline

              It's good to hear the winners are staying level headed. I do hope the money is allowing them to follow their dreams though.

                dumars798's avatar - batman17
                Atlanta
                United States
                Member #28655
                December 20, 2005
                5675 Posts
                Offline

                Congrats to 7 lucky and sane winners. It's nice to hear about people winning and not going crazy with the money.Smile

                I Agree!

                        Smart bets...... Equal Phat Pocket$!

                                     

                             





                  Avatar
                  boston
                  United States
                  Member #5586
                  July 12, 2004
                  154 Posts
                  Offline

                  as a working class poor i am proud for all of us happy go lucky bunch of dumb pigsBanana

                    Avatar
                    Georgia
                    United States
                    Member #49382
                    January 29, 2007
                    113 Posts
                    Offline

                    It is great for the state of Nebraska and these seven individuals. Congrats Ya'll!!

                      ecnirP's avatar - prince symbol_black-mini.jpg
                      Farmington Hills
                      United States
                      Member #46575
                      September 15, 2006
                      55 Posts
                      Offline

                      Clearing the driveways of two of his neighbors with a snowblower. Nice.

                        Avatar

                        United States
                        Member #10720
                        January 23, 2005
                        933 Posts
                        Offline

                        Awww, no Pink Ponies? No 10-Liter hats??

                        You are a product of all the decisions you made in life up to now, including, any you made after winning a jackpot. The worst thing to do is to give the impression that you'll give money away or that friends can have a dollar value.

                          sirbrad's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
                          PA
                          United States
                          Member #22982
                          October 6, 2005
                          2229 Posts
                          Offline

                          "I'm still me," the 48-year-old former graveyard-shift sanitation supervisor said as he sat on an overstuffed leather couch in his new, $470,000 home in southeast Lincoln."

                          Yes but you are now A LOT happier you, and one with a ton of free time and A LOT of money to buy stuff to fill that free time. Anyone who doesn't leave their old job, or can't come up with a new lifestyle; has no business even winning.