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April Fool's Day Win No Joke For Boone Man

Mike Pepper Wins $30,000 Playing "Crossword" Scratch Game

Mike Pepper
  Hear Mike tell his story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Boone man said since he only plays "Crossword" scratch games every once in a while, he never expected to win the top prize, especially on April Fool's Day.

Mike Pepper, 54, said he didn't know the ticket was going to be a big winner until the very last letter.

"I was shaking like a leaf on a tree," Pepper joked. "I needed the letter 'O.' And I'm going, 'Oh, I'll never get it.' And all of a sudden it popped up."

Pepper said after discovering the win, he had some difficulty convincing his friends and family it was true.

"Nobody believed me. I went back to the store and got it confirmed and showed them and they still didn't believe me!" he said.

Pepper said he knows the owner of the store where he purchased his ticket, and he was congratulated with hugs and kisses from the cashiers who were working.

Pepper said he had a terrible night's sleep before claiming his prize Friday at the Iowa Lottery's headquarters in Des Moines. He said he plans to put his winnings away for now until he can decide what he'll use them for.

"It's just a good time. I'll just put it away and think on it," Pepper said.

Pepper purchased his winning ticket at L & M Gas and Grocery, 320 W. Mamie Eisenhower Ave. in Boone.