Iowa woman buys winning $2 million Powerball lottery ticket right before sales cutoff

Jul 14, 2023, 11:15 am (6 comments)


A race against the clock from start to finish

By Kate Northrop

GLADBROOK, Iowa — An Iowa woman bought a Powerball lottery ticket just in the nick of time, which ended up winning her a $2 million prize.

To say Megan Balmer's experience with winning the lottery was "exciting" is an understatement — from the moment she bought her ticket to stepping into Iowa Lottery headquarters to claim a $2 million Powerball prize, this win had her running around on fumes.

Balmer's win began when she and her boyfriend, Mike Ellis, visited Casey's on Eighth Street in Gladbrook. She made it just in time to buy a Quick Pick lottery ticket in Monday's Powerball drawing.

About an hour later, Balmer and Ellis got back home and brought out the ticket to check the results for the draw.

"I had a ticket with multiple plays on it, and I saw the numbers, and I double-checked on the website a couple times," the 36-year-old said. "And then I checked on the app and didn't quite believe what I was seeing. Then we called my stepmom, and we went and checked it at another Casey's gas station and verified that it was a winner."

For the second time that night, however, Balmer had to rush to make it in time since the Casey's in Toledo, in the next town over, was about to close.

"We were hurrying to get there and wanted to check it," she continued. "Because I knew I wouldn't sleep if I couldn't know, not that I slept much anyway."

The pair went inside, and from there, it was quite a scene, Ellis said.

"I was jumping up and down, teary-eyed," he told the Lottery. "I was just super excited."

Balmer said they were "shaken up, in a good way."

"You were in tears, my stepmom was hugging you, I'm tearing up, I don't even know if I was really listening to what the clerk was saying!" she recalled on Tuesday, recounting the moment with Ellis. "Just the shock and disbelief, I guess. We couldn't believe that something like that would happen to us. It's not something that happens — ever — to us. We don't ever have luck like that."

Balmer, a nurse who works for a home healthcare company, said the prize will help her plan for retirement and pay off student loans from nursing school, among other outstanding debts.

"That's a big goal of mine: to pay off the mortgage, my student loans from nursing school and credit card debt that I'd like to clear up," she explained. "That's huge. That's such a relief to be able to say that I did those things. And I'll save some for retirement and my kids for their college. That's right around the corner; I'll blink and it will be there."

The Garwin resident's wishes after claiming the prize extend beyond that. Right now, her focus is on her sons, who she hopes will also emerge winners at the local fair.

"They're taking the livestock to the county fair," she told the Lottery as she claimed her prize Tuesday at headquarters in Clive. "They're taking his heifer, my oldest has a heifer, and my youngest is showing a chicken. It's his first year at it."

The pair were so amped up that they only got a few hours of sleep on Monday night. They could barely wait to claim the $2 million prize the next day, so they decided to make the claim while Balmer's parents took their sons to get their entries in at the Tama County Fair.

Balmer's ticket matched the first five numbers in the Powerball drawing on Mon., July 10 to initially win a $1 million prize, which was multiplied to $2 million thanks to the Power Play option she added to the ticket. The winning numbers in Monday's drawing were 2, 24, 43, 53, and 58, with Powerball 13. The Power Play number was 2.

The Casey's in Gladbrook sold another winning ticket that, like Balmer's ticket, was just one number away from winning the $680.8 million jackpot. That ticket matched the first four numbers and the Powerball to win a $50,000 prize, and it also had the Power Play feature added to multiply it to $100,000. In total, the retailer will receive a $2,100 bonus from the Lottery for selling both tickets.

After no winning tickets were sold for Wednesday night's $746.3 million grand prize, the Powerball jackpot jumped up to $875 million, the 7th-highest lottery jackpot in history and the 3rd-largest in the game.

If someone wins the jackpot on Saturday night, they'll have the option of taking a lump-sum cash payout of $452.2 million. Players looking to calculate what they would receive after the initial federal and state tax withholdings can find it all pre-calculated for each Powerball jurisdiction on the Jackpot Analysis page at USA Mega, a web site devoted to the Powerball and Mega Millions multi-state lottery games.

The Mega Millions jackpot is nearly right up there with Powerball's, now boasting a $560 million jackpot for the drawing on Fri., July 14. This is the third time both jackpots have simultaneously broken the $500 million mark.

Powerball lottery results are published within minutes of the drawing at USA Mega (  The USA Mega Web site provides lottery players in-depth information about the United States's two biggest multi-state lottery games, Mega Millions and Powerball.

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Lottery Post Staff


SAJAN123456's avatarSAJAN123456

Congratulationssss !!!

Artist77's avatarArtist77

And she used powerplay.


I want to know how much she will get actually from $2m?


Almost exactly 1.3 million after federal taxes.

Lynn2015's avatarLynn2015

Im so happy for her and her family congratulations much blessing!!!!!!

sully16's avatarsully16

It was in the stars, congrats Megan.

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