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Virginia Mega Millions Madness

Mega MillionsMega Millions: Virginia Mega Millions Madness

In whats arguably the luckiest convenient store in the Shenandoah Valley Thursday, Elsie Cekala had the worst fortune.

Cekala lost a $20 bill at the Red Apple Country Store on Fairfax Pike in Stephens City.

Funny thing is, she went in trying to win $290 million.

The Mega Millions jackpot has soared to record heights again. Customers are flocking to the Red Apple, hoping to be stroked with the same luck as Frederick County resident J.R. Triplett, who purchased the winning ticket for a $239 million drawing in February at the same store.

Cekala drove from Edinburg to Stephens City specifically because of the stores recent history.

While there, she nearly locked her keys in her car and lost the $20 bill.

But a winning ticket will solve everything.

If it comes out to me getting [$290] million for a loss of a $20 bill, Ill take that, Cekala said.

Played in 11 states, the Mega Millions hasnt produced a winner in 15 drawings, with another one scheduled for 11 p.m. tonight. The $290 million jackpot is the largest jackpot since the game was named Big Game.

Cashier Karen Cuttrell said the store has seen a noticeable jump in customers as the jackpot has risen again.

The store doesnt like to release exact numbers for total ticket sales because of security reasons, but Cuttrell estimated she sold about 100 tickets in an hour Thursday.

And that is just the quiet before the storm, she said, referring to todays last-minute rush of customers.

One man, Cuttrell said, waited for about a half-hour while she tried to change the paper in the lottery machine one day.

That was his thing, Cuttrell said. He wanted to wait and buy his ticket here.

The chances of winning the jackpot are 1 in 135 million, according to the Mega Millions Web site.

But the odds are better at the Red Apple, customers will say.

The store also produced a big winner in 1991, when Frederick County resident Isabella Pitts won $5.4 million.

People probably think its like a rabbits foot, Stephens City resident Brenda Welch said after buying two tickets herself. Of course, I believe what happens once can happen twice. And what happens twice can happen a third time.

And Im gonna be the winner this time.

Winchester Star

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