Massive windfall is a "blessing" for Wisconsin winners
By Kate Northrop
GREEN BAY, Wis. — A happily married couple stepped forward to claim their share of the $632.6 million Powerball jackpot that was split by two winning tickets in California and Wisconsin last month.
Tammy and Cliff Webster, of Oneida, are part-winners of the seventh-largest jackpot in the Powerball game and the eleventh-largest lottery prize in U.S. history.
Last month, excitement around the swelling Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots yielded higher than expected ticket sales and multiple increases between drawings. After reaching a mind-numbing $632.6 million jackpot, the Powerball run came to a close with the purchase of two winning tickets in California and Wisconsin.
On Monday, the Wisconsin Lottery announced the Webster couple as the one of the winning ticketholders who matched all five white balls 6, 14, 25, 33, and 46 plus the Powerball 17 in the drawing on Jan. 5, 2022.
"I could not be more thrilled for the Websters!" Lottery Director Cindy Polzin said in a press release. "It's incredible that we get to keep celebrating big wins in our state. This is the fourth major jackpot won in the past four years in WINsconsin."
One of the winning tickets was sold at Jackson Pointe Citgo on Packerland Drive in Green Bay, which received a $100,000 bonus for selling it.
"My heart is racing. I have goosebumps all over," General Manager at Jackson Pointe Citgo Mary Willems had said at the time she learned of the win. "It's just really great for our store, for our community here."
Tammy woke up the morning after the draw and went about her daily routine — make a cup of coffee, get ready for work, and watch the 4:30 news, only this would be one television broadcast that would change her and her husband's lives forever.
The news segment revealed that there were two Powerball jackpot winners, one in Wisconsin and the other in California, but Tammy admitted she felt disappointed when she heard someone from her state had won.
"The news said they had two winners," Tammy told the Lottery in an interview. "I felt all sad, and they said they had one in California, one in Wisconsin."
"I was mumbling all the way to the kitchen table like, 'You know how many people play in Wisconsin?" Cliff added. "What's the odds of us winning?"
The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are just 1 in 292,201,338, to be exact.
"I got my number out and started looking at it," Cliff continued. "I noticed my second number matched, there were some numbers that matched, and I couldn't believe it like, 'This cannot be the Powerball.'
In recalling the flustering moment he realized something huge was about to happen, Cliff described the feeling of incredulousness and the sheer absurdity of the situation.
"I couldn't believe it," he said. "I just sat there staring at it, and [Tammy] was in the recliner. And she's looking at me and I yelled to her that we won, and I couldn't believe it. It's unbelievable. You don't know what to do."
"4:30 in the morning — we're hugging and yelling, and it was one of the happiest moments of my life," Cliff laughed.
"Then we're standing there [wondering], "What do we do? What do we do?" Tammy recounted enthusiastically.
Both the Websters are Native American, members of the Oneida Nation. Tammy is part Oneida and part Sioux, while Cliff is Oneida.
"We are very happy about this, and I want to thank Grandfather, the creator god, for giving us this great gift," Tammy concluded. "Anybody could win. Just be thankful for what you have and be happy, and maybe good things will come because it came for us."
Before Tammy's father passed away Cliff told him that he would always take care of her. Now, the Powerball jackpot, he said, has given him the opportunity to always live up to that promise.
"This is a wonderful blessing, and we are incredibly thankful and most appreciative of this opportunity," he said.
VIDEO: Watch the interview