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Cedar Rapids Woman Turns $30 Into $25,000 Lottery Prize

Penny Hard Wins Top Prize Playing "Bingo Night" Scratch Game

Penny Hard   Hear Penny tell her story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Cedar Rapids woman's $30 win playing "Crossword" turned into a $25,000 win playing the "Bingo Night" instant-scratch game.

Penny Hard, 51, said the Iowa Lottery's Crossword and Bingo games have always been her favorite, but she never dreamed she'd win the top prize playing one. Hard bought one of each ticket, and ended up buying a few more tickets with the $30 she won playing Crossword. Little did she know that win would lead her to the top-prize win playing Bingo Night.

"I had four corners. And I thought, 'Wow, I need an I-30 or whatever for 25,000,'" Hard said. "And the next one I scratched was that!"

Hard instantly called her husband, Ray, to tell him what she thought she'd won.

"I said, 'I think I just won 25,000.' And he said, 'Don't mess with me,'" Hard said with a laugh.

To be sure, Hard had her ticket validated at a retailer. When the cashier confirmed her win, Hard tried to call Ray back but got his voicemail.

"I said, 'That's okay, I just won too much money to talk to you anyway,'" she joked.

Hard has also told her son and her mother the good news. She said both of them are very excited for her. She plans to use some of her winnings to pay bills and plans to save the rest.

Hard claimed her prize Thursday at the Iowa Lottery's regional office in Cedar Rapids. She purchased her winning ticket at Casey's, 3625 Edgewood Rd. S.W. in Cedar Rapids.