Bryon Woods pleaded with his wife Barbara to sell him another $5 worth of lottery tickets at the store where she worked. Good thing she agreed.
The Eagle Lake couple on Wednesday claimed a winning Lotto Texas ticket worth $49 million. After tearfully accepting an initial check of $2.9 million, the couple will collect $1.95 million every year for the next 24 years.
Bryon Woods said he chose the annuity instead of the lump sum cash payment option because "I intend to live another 24 years. I want my (winnings) throughout my life."
Bryon said he had purchased three tickets earlier in the week and his wife initially refused to sell him any more when he picked her up from work 10 minutes before the cutoff for the July 30 drawing.
"He already had some," Barbara said. "It's all good now."
It sure is. The second batch of Quick Pick tickets produced the winning numbers of 11-17-22-24-43, bonus ball 6.
The couple didn't know they'd won until a telephone call from a family member the next morning told them the winning ticket was purchased at the store. Bryon checked the numbers on his computer.
"I started screaming and hollering, `We're millionaires! We're millionaires!'" he said.
Bryon, 38, quit his job as a diesel mechanic and Barbara, 46, turned in her keys to the J&K's Corner store where she worked.
They said they want to provide college scholarships for local students.
"We want to help the kids in our area who really want to go to school," said Bryon Woods, who paid for his own education in Wyoming to learn diesel mechanics.
He said they hadn't talked to local school officials about the scholarship plan "but they'll hear about it today."
They also want to donate to charities for cancer and arthritis, buy homes for family members and take a trip to Las Vegas.
The $49 million was the largest prize awarded since the Texas Lottery Commission changed the game earlier this year to make it harder to win.
The game requires players to select five numbers from 1 to 44 and a bonus number from another set of 44 numbers. The estimated odds of winning are about 47.7 million-to-1.
Lottery commission Executive Director Reagan Greer said that because Barbara Woods sold the winning ticket, officials double-checked to make sure it was valid and found no problems. He said the game allows retailers and employees to play the lottery.
"We made sure everything was followed properly," Greer said. "We congratulate them."