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S.D. rancher claims $232M Powerball lottery jackpot

Jun 5, 2009, 9:16 pm

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PowerballPowerball: S.D. rancher claims $232M Powerball lottery jackpotRating:

PIERRE, S.D. — If this were a movie, nobody would believe it: A rancher struggling to eke out a living in one of the poorest corners of America claimed one of the biggest undivided jackpots in U.S. lottery history Friday — $232 million — after buying the ticket in a town by the name of Winner.

Neal Wanless, 23, said he intends to buy himself more room to roam and repay the kindness other townspeople have shown his family.

"I want to thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity and blessing me with this great fortune. I will not squander it," he promised, wearing a big black cowboy hat and a huge grin.

Wanless, who is single, lives with his mother and father on the family's 320-acre ranch near Mission, where they raise cattle, sheep and horses. They don't own a phone, a mobile home of theirs was repossessed last year, and records show they have fallen $3,552 behind in their property taxes.

Wanless bought $15 worth of tickets to the May 27 30-state Powerball drawing at a convenience store in Winner during a trip to buy livestock feed. He will take home a lump sum of $88.5 million after taxes are deducted.

The Wanless home stands in a grove of trees in Todd County, home to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. It was the nation's seventh-poorest county in 2007, according to the Census Bureau.

Dave Assman, who owns farmland next to the Wanless ranch, said he is happy the family won't have to worry about money any more. "They've been real short on finances for a long time," Assman said. "They are from real meager means, I guess you'd say."

"I hope they enjoy their money," said county assessor Cathy Vrbka, a family friend. "They work hard, backbreaking hard work."

Wanless' father, Arlen Wanless, 54, has made a living in recent years mainly by buying and selling scrap metal, but his fortunes dropped with the price of iron, said Dan Clark, an auctioneer from Winner and a friend of more than two decades.

The younger Wanless told lottery officials that he spent the last week working on the ranch and that he intends to continue that lifestyle, albeit on a larger piece of land. According to lottery officials, he recently told his horse, Eleanor, "It'd be nice if we go for a longer ride than usual on a bigger ranch of our own."

"My family has been helped by the community, and I intend to repay that help many times over," Wanless said. He gave no details.

An Oregon family turned $40 worth of tickets into $340 million Powerball prize in 2005, and at least four other winners collected larger jackpots than Wanless' prize.

The store where Wanless bought the winning ticket will get a $50,000 bonus. Sharon Ulmer, manager of the store, said she is glad the Wanless family won.

"From what I understand they don't have a lot, so the money definitely went to a good place," Ulmer said. "I know it went to a good home. They can use it."

Neal Wanless, 23, reads a statement as he claims his $232 million Powerball lottery prize. He will take home $88.5 million in a lump sum payment after taxes are deducted.
Neal Wanless, 23, reads a statement as he claims his $232 million Powerball lottery prize. He will take home $88.5 million in a lump sum payment after taxes are deducted.

An aerial view taken Thursday, June 4, 2009, shows the buildings at Neal Wanless's family ranch near Mission, S.D. Wanless, a 23-year-old rancher whose family has fallen behind in their taxes and recently had a mobile home repossessed, claimed a $232.1 million Powerball jackpot Friday, June 5, 2009.
An aerial view taken Thursday, June 4, 2009, shows the buildings at Neal Wanless's family ranch near Mission, S.D. Wanless, a 23-year-old rancher whose family has fallen behind in their taxes and recently had a mobile home repossessed, claimed a $232.1 million Powerball jackpot Friday, June 5, 2009.

Neal Wanless, 23, accepts a ceremonial check for winning a $232 million Powerball lottery jackpot, Friday, June 5, 2009, in Pierre, S.D. Neal Wanless, who lives on his family's 320-acre ranch near Mission, S.D., bought the winning ticket in the nearby town of Winner late last month during a trip to buy livestock feed.
Neal Wanless, 23, accepts a ceremonial check for winning a $232 million Powerball lottery jackpot, Friday, June 5, 2009, in Pierre, S.D. Neal Wanless, who lives on his family's 320-acre ranch near Mission, S.D., bought the winning ticket in the nearby town of Winner late last month during a trip to buy livestock feed.

AP, Lottery Post Staff

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59 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by barbos.
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50
Chief Bottle Washer
New Jersey
United States
Member #1
May 31, 2000
25885 Posts
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I was so happy to read about this deserving winner.  A big, huge CONGRATS to you!

 

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    United States
    Member #58526
    February 18, 2008
    710 Posts
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    I was so happy to read about this deserving winner.  A big, huge CONGRATS to you!

    I Agree!I'll second that emotion!BananaPartyDancePartyHurray!

      Avatar

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

      It's like deja vu all over again, with that black hat!

      Next I'm getting ME a black cowboy hat!!!

      What's his neighbor's name again???

        Empress-N's avatar - voodoo
        I Got Your Number!!!
        United States
        Member #73901
        April 28, 2009
        1458 Posts
        Offline

        A Big CONGRATULATIONS to him, I feel good when someone thats in real need wins. This family have been really blessed and I wish them the best. Party

         "See It! Believe It! Receive It!"

        I am who I am,   Not because of who I am,   But because the Great I AM,   Made me who I am.

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          konane's avatar - wallace
          Atlanta, GA
          United States
          Member #1265
          March 13, 2003
          5938 Posts
          Online

          Huge congratulatons to him and all the people he will help as a result of it!!!  Party Party Party Party

          Have fun and the best of luck to everyone! Sun Smiley

            rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
            Texas
            United States
            Member #55887
            October 23, 2007
            10477 Posts
            Offline

            It is really nice to read of someone that really needs the money that wins. It is touching that he said he intends to repay the community for the help that the family received, especially since that area is so poor.

            Very neat story.

              ThatScaryChick's avatar - giphy11resized
              Idaho
              United States
              Member #56504
              November 21, 2007
              6701 Posts
              Online

              Congrats to Mr. Wanless on his big win! It sure looks like this money with definitely help him and his family out.

              "twitter - youtube - steam - tumblr"

              ThatScaryChick

                wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

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

                I was so happy to read about this deserving winner.  A big, huge CONGRATS to you!

                I Agree! Glad to see someone who really deserves it win, and one who seems like he will do a lot of good with the money! Congrats Mr Wanless!

                  grandpajohn's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                  williamsburg,ohio
                  United States
                  Member #71027
                  February 17, 2009
                  603 Posts
                  Offline

                  Sure is nice to see someone who works they're butts off and win something like this.Also nice to see him going to help others who have helped him and his family out.Congrats to him and his family. God Bless

                  "Don't Give Up.Don't Ever Give Up"

                  Jim Valvano ex N.C.State basketball coach Thumbs Up

                    Avatar

                    United States
                    Member #54388
                    August 17, 2007
                    313 Posts
                    Offline

                    This guy really deserved it. Congratulations to him.

                      Avatar

                      Honduras
                      Member #20981
                      August 29, 2005
                      4715 Posts
                      Offline

                      to young to me to be a rancher...

                      i wish the community of religious people in north & south Dakota and similar places, i think they are amish or something, wish they had won the big jackpot...The problem with Powerball is that it goes to the well off states of America, it doesn't go to the poorest states and is only 1 game....Americans are everyone not just the ones in the better states...

                      The Forex trades: 1.6 Trillion dollars EVERY day, that´s more than the GDP of the Carribbean Central America, COMBINED. Enough to feed every crook out there for centuries...To all Geniuses & Powers Countries of the World the Planet needs breakthroughs in all Medicine, Veterinary, Biology related fields, Psychology, Population Psychology/Sociology..They need to genetically ingeneer new plants species/types to give more variety of plants and thus have more resources for combating diseases¨


                       


                       


                       

                       


                        Icezkube's avatar - icezkube Avatar.jpg
                        Bay Area 510 , California
                        United States
                        Member #64281
                        August 23, 2008
                        194 Posts
                        Offline

                        I read up this story on yahoo news. He really is one young lucky son of a B&*^$!   lol Any how yea he deserved it. Ouch, those taxes took a huge chunk of his stash tho. I guess with all the bad comes out all the good.

                        Anything is yours, if you only want it hard enough. Just think of it. ANYTHING. Try IT. You will succeed.Wink

                          Avatar

                          Honduras
                          Member #20981
                          August 29, 2005
                          4715 Posts
                          Offline

                          to young to me to be a rancher...

                          i wish the community of religious people in north & south Dakota and similar places, i think they are amish or something, wish they had won the big jackpot...The problem with Powerball is that it goes to the well off states of America, it doesn't go to the poorest states and is only 1 game....Americans are everyone not just the ones in the better states...

                          but if it going to ranchers it should go to ranchers who plant ground foods and vegetables & fruits not that crap about farmers that grow cows and all that stuff....That way those farmers who plant ground food can use that money to expand on their bussiness and create marvelous things, huge bussiness, create BIG MARKETS OF GROUND FOOD....create huge supermarkets like Walmart & Publix but that sell ground food only and vegetables and fruits, like plantings, mango, lettuce everything....And to expand abroad too...

                          The Forex trades: 1.6 Trillion dollars EVERY day, that´s more than the GDP of the Carribbean Central America, COMBINED. Enough to feed every crook out there for centuries...To all Geniuses & Powers Countries of the World the Planet needs breakthroughs in all Medicine, Veterinary, Biology related fields, Psychology, Population Psychology/Sociology..They need to genetically ingeneer new plants species/types to give more variety of plants and thus have more resources for combating diseases¨


                           


                           


                           

                           


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                            Downhere, S.C.
                            United States
                            Member #35032
                            March 11, 2006
                            1956 Posts
                            Offline

                            What a great story. God blesses people like this who seek him. Sounds like they indeed needed a blessing. Congrats to him and his family.

                            US FlagPlease Pray For Our Troops And Their Families.