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$100,000 "Merry Money" Prize Makes Extra Merry Holiday For Carroll Man

Tim Howard Wins Top Prize Playing "Merry Money" Scratch Game

Tim Howard
  Hear Howard tell his story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Carroll man bought a "Merry Money" instant-scratch ticket on a whim and ended up winning the top prize of $100,000.

Tim Howard, 43, said he doesn't play the lottery very often, but he purchased the ticket after seeing the man in front of him buy one at a local retailer.

"I told the check-out person, 'Just give me what he's got.' Scratched off the Merry Money and there it was," Howard said.

Howard was home the day before Thanksgiving when he scratched the winning ticket. His wife, Sheri, was napping on the couch when he discovered his win.

"I didn't want to bother her so I ran up to the gas station to verify that I did win it," Howard said. "She just looked at me and said, 'You just won a hundred thousand dollars.'"

Howard, who is a manager at Sherwin-Williams in Carroll, said when he returned home his wife had gone to bed ill, but he tried to share the good news with her.

"I said, 'So honey, I just won $100,000 on a scratch-off ticket. And she said, 'Thatís great, Tim. Could you shut the hall light off?'"

Howard joked that his wife must have been too sleepy to understand what he said, but he shared the news with her again later and she was very excited.

"She didn't believe me and I had to show her the ticket. She said, 'I cannot believe this,'" Howard said.

Howard had already told other friends and family who he said didn't believe him at first, but were excited for him.

Howard had to wait four days to claim his prize as the Iowa Lottery's offices were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. He claimed his prize Monday at the lottery's headquarters in Des Moines.

Howard said he plans to invest his winnings to send his children to college.

"Anybody can do it. They always say you've got to play to win," he said. "I'm very thankful that the Iowa Lottery had a ticket like this."

Howard purchased his winning ticket at East Side Shell, 1515 Plaza Drive in Carroll.

Lottery players can use nonwinning tickets in the Merry Money game and other holiday-themed scratch games for a chance to win some of the season's hottest electronics and cash prizes in the "Tech The Halls" holiday promotion that runs through Jan. 18. The promotion offers 250 prizes of Sony® electronics along with 25 cash prizes ranging from $500 to $5,000. Players can enter the promotion using nonwinning tickets in the seven holiday-themed instant-scratch games available this season in Iowa. Different levels of prizes are involved for different tickets.