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Two Western Iowa Men Split $1 Million Powerball® Prize

Sioux City Man, Father-In-Law Claim Prize From Saturday Drawing

Robert Stewart II Mary Neubauer, VP of External Relations, Rolle Zellers and Keith Olson pose with ceremonial check.
  Hear their story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A western Iowa man and his father-in-law claimed a $1 million Powerball prize Monday from a ticket they bought while in Onawa to visit a hospitalized family member.

Rolle Zellers of Sioux City and his father-in-law, Keith Olson of Whiting, split the $1 million prize. They had learned the news about their big win on Sunday, the same day that there was even more good news: Olson's wife, Joyce, was released from the hospital.

"He called our house and said, 'What's this win?' And I said, 'I don't know, but it's a lot!'" Zellers said with a laugh as they claimed their prize. "Then we went to their house and my wife and I cleaned the house and I mowed the lawn. Then we got Mom home, so everything is good."

Zellers, 51, a feed packer at the Land O' Lakes-Purina Feed plant in Sioux City, said he and Olson were visiting Joyce Olson in the hospital Saturday evening when he told his father-in-law that he would slip out to a local store and buy them some Powerball tickets.

Zellers bought two tickets, keeping one and giving the other to Olson. The ticket that Olson had was the big winner.

"Actually, his ticket won. But he wasn't going to let me go without giving me half because hes a good father-in-law," Zellers said.

Olson, 85, who is retired, said he thought they had maybe won $300 or $400, and he didn't believe Zellers' initial estimate that their prize might be $200,000.

"I heard him say something about big, and I didn't know what that would amount to," Olson said. "He finally came up with an estimate and I thought he was just nuts. Turns out he knows more about it than I thought he did!"

Zellers purchased the winning ticket at Casey's, 706 Tenth St. in Onawa. It was the only ticket nationwide to win a $1 million prize in Saturday's Powerball drawing. It is the 14th lottery ticket sold in Iowa to win a $1 million prize since 2008.

The men's ticket originally matched the first five numbers but missed the Powerball to win a $200,000 prize. But Zellers also added the Power Play® option to the winning play, which multiplied the prize to $1 million.

Both men said they always add the Power Play to their tickets.

"I always play the Power Play in case I win!" Olson said with a smile. "I want to win big."

No one won Saturday's $79.1 million Powerball jackpot, so the prize increases to an estimated $97 million for Wednesday's drawing.

Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich said it's exciting to see another instant millionaire in Iowa.

"We've now had six winners of $1 million prizes in Iowa just this year," Rich said. "We're happy to deliver what our players want: the chance to play for big jackpots but other significant prizes, too."

Zellers said he plans to pay off his house and buy his wife a new car with the winnings. Olson said he plans to help his family he has three sons and a daughter, nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

"I'm going to help my family wherever I can," Olson said.

Olson said he wants to show his wife their oversized, ceremonial check to lift her spirits.

"I haven't been that excited because of everything we have going on," he said. "Sometimes I can't believe it."

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.

Top Prize: $1 million  
Federal withholding: $250,000  
State withholding: $50,000  
Net amount: $700,000