Powerball Lottery Now At $50M, But These Winners Prove Smaller Jackpots Make Dreams Come True

Powerball lottery jackpot winners

The Powerball lottery jackpot started over on Wednesday, offering a “mere” $40 million up for grabs after one ticket Missouri matched all six numbers on Saturday to win a whopping $203 million jackpot, the fourth-highest of the nine Powerball winners so far in 2014. No one hit all six winning numbers on Wednesday, raising the jackpot to $50 million for Saturday’s Powerball game.

The winner of last Saturday’s life-changing prize has yet to come forward, though after some initial confusion during which even the retailer who sold the big Powerball winner remained mysterious, the Missouri lottery commission cleared up the situation earlier this week.

As it turns out, the $203 million Powerball winning ticket — which actually ended up as $202.6 million after final adjustments were made — was sold by Victor Patel at the Gateway Newsstand in St. Louis’ Union Station. In other words, the winner may have been someone getting on a train. Possibly a commuter — possibly not even a Missouri resident.

Patel collects a $50,000 reward for selling the winning Powerball ticket.

But by hitting the Powerball jackpot, the winner sent the top prize dropping to its minimum, which usually means considerably lower interest among lottery players. While Saturday’s nine-figure drawing attracted nearly 24 million ticket sales, but for the $40 million jackpot Wednesday night, sales less than half that number, at 11.3 million.

Lottery players who somehow believe that a smaller jackpot isn’t worth a gamble, however, should consider the case of Dave and Erica Harrig of Gretna, Nebraska, who took home $61 million in Powerball cash last December.

“You think back on it and you still kind of pinch yourself,” Dave Harrig told a Nebraska TV station in a recent interview. “Like, how is this possible?”

The first thought that crossed Erica’s mind was that she would no longer need to set her alarm for 4:20 am.

And then they bought a new house. And not just any house — their dream house.

“It was the second house we looked at,” Erica said. “Everything was perfect, even down to the shower head we wanted.”

Oh yeah, Dave also bought a Corvette, the car he’s always wanted. But even with the splurges, the Harrigs guarded against the downfalls of many lottery winners.

“We’ve got a great investment team,” Dave says. “They’re teaching us, they’re teaching our children the management of the money. We still hear some of the detractors out there,” said Dave. “If we buy something new it’s ‘oh, they’re going to blow it! It’ll be gone in no time!’ But our investment team, we work really closely with them and we told them if we start straying from our plan, our goals, to let us know and rein us back in.”

The Harrigs say they’re now “busier than we’ve ever been. but we’re busy with the things we want to be busy with.”

The winning Powerball numbers Wednesday night were 3739 — 51 — 52 — 55 Powerball 11.

The winner, if there is one, of Saturday’s jackpot will take home $25 million, before taxes, if he or she takes the money in a single payment.