A railroad worker from Lincoln, Nebraska collected a $500,000 check Friday from the second chance drawing of the Iowa/Kansas "Midwest Millions" scratch ticket lottery game.
Fifty-year-old Ralph Kuwamoto says he bought the tickets at a store called Eddy's in Glenwood, Iowa and then mailed them in for the second-chance drawing. Kuwamoto says he didn't think anything about it until a friend called.
He says he was coming home from St. Joseph, Missouri when he got a call from a buddy in Arizona who said he heard there was a "rich new Nebraskan" who had bought the ticket in Iowa. Kuwamoto says he still didn't realize he'd won until the friend called back with an article from the internet.
"And he started reading, and then when he mentions Glenwood, Iowa, I kind of knew, I think he knew what he was talking about," Kuwamoto says. He called his wife and had her look up the story to confirm it. Kuwamoto, who works for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, will take home around 350-thousand dollars after taxes.
Kuwamoto says they've thought about it and will probably put most of the money toward retirement, but there are some things they want to do. The Kansas and Iowa lotteries will hold another second chance drawing in April, and Kuwamoto says he recently bought tickets there and sent them in, hoping to get lucky again. Kuwamoto does a lot of traveling in his job, but says he has a new favorite state.
"Iowa's up on the top right now...there' batting 100-percent, I'm all for Iowa, Go Hawkeyes, Go Cyclones, go Huskers," Kuwamoto said to laughter. Kuwamoto picked up his winnings at the Iowa Lottery headquarters in Des Moines.