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Des Moines Man Wins $1 Million Powerball® Prize

Prize Was Won In March 31 Drawing

David Lyons Lottery CEO Terry Rich and David Lyons pose with large ceremonial check.
  Hear David tell his story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Des Moines man got the surprise of a lifetime when he checked his Powerball ticket and realized he'd won a $1 million prize, no joke.

News of David Lyons' big winning ticket broke on April Fool's Day, but he soon learned it was no prank: He would take home a big prize.

"I looked at the numbers, but I didn't believe it," Lyons said as he claimed his prize Tuesday at Lottery headquarters in Des Moines. "I still don't believe it. I couldn't sleep."

Lyons, 60, bought his $1 million-winning ticket at the Shortstop convenience store at 1010 S.E. National Drive in Ankeny while on his lunch break from his job as an overnight stocker at Wal-Mart, which is next to the convenience store.

His ticket was the only one nationwide to win a $1 million prize in the March 31 drawing.

Lyons' ticket came close to winning the $82.8 million jackpot that night, matching the first five numbers but missing the Powerball® to win a $200,000 prize. But he made the decision to spend an extra $1 to add the Power Play option to his winning play, which then multiplied his prize to $1 million.

Lyons said he routinely asks for a print-out of the winning numbers from the lottery terminal, and then uses the list to check his tickets to see if he's won anything. He finally checked his ticket and realized his good fortune on Friday night.

But he had an inkling that he'd won big well before that: Staff at Wal-Mart and the Shortstop had heard about the big winning ticket and narrowed down the list of possible customers who could have purchased the ticket.

"They had it narrowed down to me because I'm the only person that comes in at that time of night to buy Powerball tickets with the Power Play," Lyons said. "They had it figured out pretty good."

If your ticket matches the first five numbers in a Powerball drawing and you've added the Power Play, the prize you'll win is always $1 million, no matter what the Power Play number is for that drawing.

The winning numbers in the March 31 drawing were: 5-13-17-45-54 and Powerball 12. The Power Play multiplier was 5. The jackpot has continued to climb since then, reaching an estimated $125 million for Wednesday's drawing. The Mega Millions jackpot also is getting up there, reaching an estimated $76 million for Tuesday's drawing.

"I always buy the Power Play. If you're going to buy a Powerball ticket, buy the Power Play because it pays," Lyons said with a grin.

Lyons, who has four grown children, said he plans to continue working, but knows his life will be a little different going forward.

"It's going to change," he said.

Lyons has a family connection as he makes plans for his winnings: His niece works at a bank and has arranged for a financial planner there to help him make investment decisions.

Prize: $1 million
Federal Withholding: $250,000
State Withholding: $50,000
Net: $700,000