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.