Joe Ryan of Campbell is excited about a new year. He bought a Missouri Lottery ticket on Dec. 22 that validated his enthusiasm with a $500,000 prize.
“The Mayan calendar was right,” confirmed Ryan. “This is the beginning of a new age!”
The regular Lottery player bought his winning “$3 Million Taxes Paid” Scratchers ticket at Casey’s General Store in Campbell. Ryan said that he first bought a $20 ticket and won $25.
“I said, ‘I didn’t come here to win $5.’ I went back in, cashed that ticket and bought another $20 ticket,” he recalled. “I scratched the first number, and I thought, ‘Uh-oh. Can this be real?’”
Ryan uncovered the $500,000 prize on the first scratch. He said he didn’t even finish scratching the ticket until later, when his son suggested there could be other prizes on the ticket.
“Tough luck, it was just the $500,000,” he joked. “That’s a considerable sum, so that makes it worth playing. The taxes are already paid on it, so I like that part, too.”
The wise 61-year-old had a ready-made plan for the windfall.
“A friend and I, we play kind of together; we’ve always said if we win big, first thing, we’ll take care of our wives,” he suggested. “That’s the road to success, that’s what I tell anybody. If momma’s happy, everyone’s happy.”
Apparently that will involve letting his wife, Jane, plan some remodeling to their home. Beyond that, the truck driver said he will continue to work, but he might be able to retire early.
“This will move my retirement up about five years,” he said.
“This brings a whole new set of problems, but it’s a good kind of problem to deal with,” he chuckled.
Ryan added that he would “help family out” and “pay off student loans for the kids.” He also said he’ll continue to play the Lottery.
“It’s just amazing to think that I was lucky enough to be the guy,” he stated. “You can’t buy luck, but the only sure thing is you can’t win, if you don’t play.”
“$3,000,000 Taxes Paid” is a $20 game that officially began Aug. 13, 2011. In addition to one more second prize of $500,000, one top prize of $3 million taxes-paid remains in the game.