Powerball Jackpot Now $60M As $96.5M Winning ‘Nerds’ Plan ‘Lord Of The Rings’ Vacation

The Powerball jackpot climbed to $60 million after a Saturday night drawing that produced no match for all six numbers and only two matches of the first five for second prize. Those two tickets were sold in West Virginia where the winner will collect a $1 million check, and California where under the state’s pari-mutuel payout system that ticket is worth $782,763.

Of 13,786,836 tickets sold for Saturday’s drawing, 463,032 were good for at least a $1 prize. In fact, 27 of those tickets matched four numbers plus the Powerball number. For 19 of those winners, the payout is $10,000. Make that $20,000 for the five who activated the Power Play option, but just $6,570 for the California tickets.

Was your ticket one of them? Check it against these numbers, drawn at 10:59 pm Eastern Time Saturday night in Tallahassee, Florida:

23122738 Powerball 17

Even while the winner of a massive $425 jackpot on February 19 is still at large somewhere, the husband and wife who won last week’s $96.5 million Powerball jackpot showed up to pick up their life-altering payout.

John and Susan Brands, both 49, of St. Charles, Missouri, said they were “shell-shocked” when they realized the jackpot belonged to them.

John, a civil engineer — well, now former civil engineer — said that his wife was asleep when he checked his Powerball ticket against the lottery’s web site on the morning of March 23. When he saw the results, he immediately shook her awake.

“I thought the house was on fire,” Susan said. “I thought he was messing with me.”

By choosing the Quick Pick option, as John did, the winning Powerball ticket must be paid in the “lump sum” form, which would come to approximately $55.1 million, according to calculations by the lottery experts at USA Mega.

Even after state and federal taxes, that would leave the Brands with over $39 million to reshape their lives. John said that he plans to fulfill a dream by buying some farmland.

But as self-described “nerds” another of the couple’s big plans is a vacation in New Zealand to visit the sites where the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was filmed.

For example, they will surely be visiting a dairy farm in the town of Matamata about a two-hour drive from Auckland which served as “The Shire,” home to Bilbo, Frodo and the other Hobbits — among many other scenic New Zealand locales now accessible to them thanks to their Powerball jackpot good fortune.