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Eldora Woman Strikes It Rich At Bowling Tournament

Pam Gillespie Wins The Top Prize of $30,000 Playing "Crossword" Scratch Game

Pam Gillespie
  Hear Pam tell her story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - Surrounded by her family and a bowling alley full of friends, an Eldora woman won the top prize of $30,000 playing the "Crossword" scratch game.

Pam Gillespie, 44, was attending a state bowling tournament in Ottumwa with her husband last weekend when she discovered her win. Because of a herniated disk in her neck, Gillespie has been disabled and was unable to bowl with the group for the first time in 20 years.

"We stopped in New Sharon at the Casey's and I bought the last nine tickets they had so I had something to do at the bowling alley because it's the first time in like twenty years I haven't bowled at the state tournament, so I knew I was going to be bored," Gillespie said.

Gillespie and a friend were scratching the tickets during the first set when she discovered her win. At first, she was celebrating over what she thought was a $3,000 win.

"I said, 'If I get an 'O' I'm going to fall out of my chair.' When I got done, we counted them up and we thought we had $3,000," Gillespie said. "We were yelling and screaming and hollering; everyone was giving me high fives."

Gillespie said she took a break to calm down from the excitement when her friend Jan found the final word, making the win $30,000.

"She said, 'No, you're not going to believe it. We missed a word. We have all ten for $30,000!' We ran back inside and I hollered out, 'We have $30,000!'" Gillespie said. "Everybody was yelling and screaming and couldn't believe it."

Gillespie claimed her prize Monday, April 12 at the Iowa Lottery's regional office in Mason City. She purchased her winning ticket at Casey's, 205 S. Main St. in New Sharon. Gillespie said she plans to use some of her winnings to pay bills as well as buy her husband a new guitar and get a new computer.