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71-year-old Texas construction worker claims $177 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot

Apr 19, 2017, 10:36 am

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Mega MillionsMega Millions: 71-year-old Texas construction worker claims $177 million Mega Millions lottery jackpotRating:

Ticket was purchased in Arkansas and is the state's largest-ever jackpot winner

Includes video report

By Todd Northrop

A couple from Abernathy, Texas, Monday claimed a $177 million jackpot in Arkansas from the March 31 Mega Millions drawing.

Eliberto and Anita Cantu claimed the prize Monday during a press conference in Arkansas.

They chose to take the prize as a lump sum so the amount was $72,901,274. The State of Arkansas said it took $7,504,543 in taxes.

Their son, Rodrigo Cantu, spoke on their behalf.  He said the couple's home town is Abernathy, Texas, while a lottery official described them as being from Lubbock.

Either way, the younger Cantu said his mom and dad plan to use the money to build two new churches — one in Abernathy and one in Post.

Suzie Turner, Eliberto's neice, said her uncle is always giving to other people whenever he can.

"They deserve it because, if anyone ever needed anything, they would try to give it to them, or find a way to give it to them," Turner said of her aunt and uncle. "They're just that kind of family."

Turner said Cantu, 71, of Abernathy wanted to wait before he told people about his new fortune.

But by Monday afternoon, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery had broadcast a livestream on its Facebook page announcing Cantu as the winner of its $177 million jackpot — the biggest lottery win in the history of the state.

"They hadn't told nobody," Turner said. "They told my other aunt and of course she couldn't hold her tongue (and) told my dad, my dad told my mom so by the time we saw it on Facebook, we already knew. I was like, 'wow'... They're overwhelmed, I'm sure."

Rodrigo said his dad was in Arkansas as part of a five-week construction job.

"They travel around in a little travel trailer, so they just kind of go around from job to job," Rodrigo Cantu said. "He's been playing since Texas started its lottery. ... I'm sure they'll keep playing. You can't break a 30-year-old habit."

"He did buy 180 tickets one time and got no money out of it," Rodrigo said.

"That morning he stopped at a Valero," Rodrigo continued. "His co-workers didn't want to stop, but he convinced them to stop so he could get a lottery ticket and coffee."

After winning, Rodrigo Cantu said, his dad sold his travel trailer to a co-worker for $1 and began getting legal and financial advice.

"It's very daunting," he said. "It's a lot of money. You have to make sure everything is right, down to security for my parents once this gets out."

With six children and about 17 grandchildren, the son said his parents are looking forward to taking care of their families. And their first priority is rebuilding Bethel Baptist Church in Abernathy.

"It's definitely a blessing," Rodrigo Cantu said. "It's kind of sunk in for some. My mom still doesn't believe it. Even though she's held the check, she's got to actually see it in the account. On the flipside of that, they've never had a credit card, they've never written a check — it's all been through money orders. My dad just recently got a debit card a couple of years ago, so I don't know if it'll ever sink in."

Technically the Cantu's were winners twice over in that drawing.

"They also won three dollars as well," Rodrigo said.

Rodrigo said his mom and dad are ages 71 and 68, and he eventually convinced his dad to retire. But, it might take a while for him to break the habit of waking up early every morning.

"He got up the other morning at 5:30 and realized he didn't have to go," Rodrigo Cantu said.

The gas station where the ticket was sold will receive a $50,000 bonus commission on the sale and the state of Arkansas will receive about $7 million in taxes.

Turner said she's happy for her uncle and aunt and hopes they'll be able to enjoy life a little more.

"They've done their share of traveling. It's not like they never did anything, but they did stuff on a regular budget and now they actually have money to splurge," Turner said. "They lived life, but now they can actually live life."

VIDEO: Watch the press conference

3xF7d6KRhkU71-year-old Texas construction worker claims $177 million Mega Millions lottery jackpotA couple from Abernathy, Texas, Monday claimed a $177 million jackpot in Arkansas from the March 31 Mega Millions drawing.PT17M00Shttps://img.youtube.com/vi/3xF7d6KRhkU/hqdefault.jpghttps://youtu.be/3xF7d6KRhkU2017-04-19T10:08:00-05:00

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32 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by mikeintexas.
Page 1 of 3
Avatar
Chasing $ Millions.
White Shores- California
United States
Member #136473
December 12, 2012
6267 Posts
Offline
Posted: April 19, 2017, 11:06 am - IP Logged

Beautiful.

**Shades of Stevie Ray Vaughn with that hat.

 * Voice of Reason *   

 

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

    music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
    Fresno, California
    United States
    Member #157851
    August 2, 2014
    3920 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: April 19, 2017, 12:31 pm - IP Logged

    Congratulations to the Cantu family! Party

     "We are all in this together!" 

      konane's avatar - wallace
      Atlanta, GA
      United States
      Member #1265
      March 13, 2003
      5811 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: April 19, 2017, 4:09 pm - IP Logged

      Congratulations to the Cantu family and all who will be blessed because of their win.  Party

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

        Cassie8620's avatar - oGH0ok
        California
        United States
        Member #180566
        March 13, 2017
        4009 Posts
        Online
        Posted: April 19, 2017, 5:32 pm - IP Logged

        early seventies never probably felt this good. Well,except when you're having 

        >Good health

        >Real love and loyalty with your partner,with of course a little $nest egg for senior decades 70s.80s and up so congrats

         

        The couple look nice and happy.Each day as a senior their life will be little bit less stressed. Great win right here.Cheers

        Won over 13G's!( Spring 2020 ) + total (2019) 22,000! Time 2 break the bank, baby! $ $ $ Banana

        0068 0806 0860 1027 7707 1608 0620 0862 6800 8602 8620 1211 1215 1216 1236 1623 3193 3533 3009 3159 

        1031 2143 1061 1038 1263 1350 1358 1448 1530 1569 1570 1589 3412  1112 1411 1711 1216 2446 3422 3522 5593 4773

        0764 1061 1476 4374 4761 4762 4764  5925 6023 7077 7411 7460 7664 7678 8150 8779 9512 8999

          Avatar
          Blue Bell,Pa
          United States
          Member #156243
          June 12, 2014
          23 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: April 19, 2017, 5:57 pm - IP Logged

          I don't know how he lived so long without a credit card or checking account. Sounds strange to me.

            zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
            South Carolina
            United States
            Member #77165
            July 15, 2009
            897 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: April 19, 2017, 5:58 pm - IP Logged

            Congratulations to them.  Son sounds like he will make sure they handle the winnings wisely.

            Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.-Rocky Balboa

            “Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.” – Zig Ziglar

              bobby623's avatar - abstract
              San Angelo, Texas
              United States
              Member #1097
              January 31, 2003
              1648 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: April 19, 2017, 6:19 pm - IP Logged

              Best example of winning the lottery without a boatload of mathematical wizardry.
              All you have do is be at the right place at the right time. 
              A few minutes either way and someone else would have won, maybe.

                HaveABall's avatar - rocket

                United States
                Member #72446
                March 18, 2009
                1302 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: April 19, 2017, 6:43 pm - IP Logged

                Best example of winning the lottery without a boatload of mathematical wizardry.
                All you have do is be at the right place at the right time. 
                A few minutes either way and someone else would have won, maybe.

                True, bobby623!  And he didn't even purchase this winning jackpot Mega Millions ticket in the state where he lives! 

                Group Hug

                Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

                Disney

                  Avatar
                  Chasing $ Millions.
                  White Shores- California
                  United States
                  Member #136473
                  December 12, 2012
                  6267 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: April 19, 2017, 7:30 pm - IP Logged

                  I don't know how he lived so long without a credit card or checking account. Sounds strange to me.

                  l have yet to meet a genuine panhandler in this neck of the woods Fellini who has a credit card or checking account either . Next time you out and about, ask a panhandler how he/ she has come to live this long? Be prepared to pull a chair and listen up...

                   * Voice of Reason *   

                   

                  People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                    Avatar
                    Chasing $ Millions.
                    White Shores- California
                    United States
                    Member #136473
                    December 12, 2012
                    6267 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: April 19, 2017, 7:36 pm - IP Logged

                    early seventies never probably felt this good. Well,except when you're having 

                    >Good health

                    >Real love and loyalty with your partner,with of course a little $nest egg for senior decades 70s.80s and up so congrats

                     

                    The couple look nice and happy.Each day as a senior their life will be little bit less stressed. Great win right here.Cheers

                    Word!

                     * Voice of Reason *   

                     

                    People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                      Avatar

                      United States
                      Member #164719
                      March 12, 2015
                      1300 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: April 19, 2017, 8:29 pm - IP Logged

                      I'm convinced that if you ever find yourself out of state -- buy a lottery ticket.  Big Smile

                        Cassie8620's avatar - oGH0ok
                        California
                        United States
                        Member #180566
                        March 13, 2017
                        4009 Posts
                        Online
                        Posted: April 19, 2017, 8:32 pm - IP Logged

                        I don't know how he lived so long without a credit card or checking account. Sounds strange to me.

                        not odd. imo.

                        My mother has zero credit card,but a great credit score/homeowner/with dad for over fifty yrs, that is why. Daddy has all credit cards,and they are retired now for 14 yrs, happy. But yea, not too weird to me.Mom does have 1 savings account. Ss, i can believe it.

                        Won over 13G's!( Spring 2020 ) + total (2019) 22,000! Time 2 break the bank, baby! $ $ $ Banana

                        0068 0806 0860 1027 7707 1608 0620 0862 6800 8602 8620 1211 1215 1216 1236 1623 3193 3533 3009 3159 

                        1031 2143 1061 1038 1263 1350 1358 1448 1530 1569 1570 1589 3412  1112 1411 1711 1216 2446 3422 3522 5593 4773

                        0764 1061 1476 4374 4761 4762 4764  5925 6023 7077 7411 7460 7664 7678 8150 8779 9512 8999

                          Cassie8620's avatar - oGH0ok
                          California
                          United States
                          Member #180566
                          March 13, 2017
                          4009 Posts
                          Online
                          Posted: April 19, 2017, 8:34 pm - IP Logged

                          Word!

                          lol thx for quoting my post tonight.

                          Yea i just feel that way anyhow."

                          My parents remind me of the way he seem to be.  Heck,mommie has no credit card! LOL

                          I used to think it was strange, TBH.(to be honest)but then, i see how "well"they been living since retirement

                          and bringing us five up and i say,"Oh i get it."Dad had many credit cards, cancel all in "good standing"and less debt,

                          never really incur much debt as he say, having limited accounts/and a few wise investments since mid 50s, 29 yrs ago.

                          They did well,and are still ok in life,happy,healthy in love,each other best friend

                          and just overall happy.

                          Won over 13G's!( Spring 2020 ) + total (2019) 22,000! Time 2 break the bank, baby! $ $ $ Banana

                          0068 0806 0860 1027 7707 1608 0620 0862 6800 8602 8620 1211 1215 1216 1236 1623 3193 3533 3009 3159 

                          1031 2143 1061 1038 1263 1350 1358 1448 1530 1569 1570 1589 3412  1112 1411 1711 1216 2446 3422 3522 5593 4773

                          0764 1061 1476 4374 4761 4762 4764  5925 6023 7077 7411 7460 7664 7678 8150 8779 9512 8999

                            Esaie07's avatar - Lottery-016.jpg
                            New Member
                            Cap haitien
                            Haiti
                            Member #181195
                            April 14, 2017
                            3 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: April 19, 2017, 9:55 pm - IP Logged

                            it's verrygood