WINNER, S.D. – It’s been 100 years since this South Dakota ranch town lived up to its name, but it has done so in a big way for whoever bought a Powerball ticket worth $232.1 million.
Word spread quickly that the winning ticket had been sold in this community of about 3,000 people.
Friends and neighbors greeted each other Thursday with one question: Who won?
“How often does something like this happen – a winner in Winner, S.D.?” said Norm Lingle, executive director of the South Dakota Lottery.
The city is so named because it was the “winner” in a bid to establish a town along the railroad right-of-way when the Chicago North Western began to move west from Dallas, S.D., according to the city’s Web site. That was back in 1909.
Until today, Winner has been primarily known for its pheasant hunting season, which draws thousands of hunters from around the world every fall.
The apparent winner contacted state lottery officials late Thursday afternoon.
“The person provided details that only the winner would know, so we’re reasonably certain it was the real deal,” Lingle said.
The winner’s identity won’t be disclosed until the ticket is validated and the prize is officially claimed, he said.
Dick O’Bryan, a farmer and real estate agent, said such a large amount of money could be good for the town.
“It’s great to have it come into the town. It (might) just as well be here as somewhere else,” he told a reporter outside the Tripp County Courthouse.
“The only bad part about it is my name isn’t on it.”
Only two retailers sell Powerball tickets in Winner: the Ampride and Lil’ Feller convenience stores. Neither knows the identity of the winning ticket holder.