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Linn County Man Wins $1 Million Mega Millions® Prize

Ken Booth of Palo Claims Cedar Rapids Area's Third Recent $1 Million Prize

Lottery CEO Terry Rich and Ken Booth   Hear Ken tell his story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Linn County man faced a long-distance challenge this week when he needed to tell his wife that he'd just won a $1 million Mega Millions prize. Ken Booth said his wife, Julie, is on a business trip in England. But luckily, she has an international-access mobile phone with her.

"She called yesterday and I asked her if she was sitting down, and that I had some good news to tell her," Booth said as he claimed his prize Thursday at lottery headquarters in Des Moines. "And I explained the situation to her. We've talked about four times since then and she's spent a sleepless night."

Booth won a $1 million prize in Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing. His was the only ticket nationwide to win a $1 million prize that night.

Booth, 54, of Palo, who works for a mechanical contractor, said he was in Des Moines on business Wednesday when he happened to check the winning lottery numbers in the newspaper. Not quite believing what he saw, he went to a local convenience store and asked for a print-out of the winning numbers as another reference.

"They were all what the paper said, so I knew I was a winner!" he said.

Booth claimed the sixth lottery prize of at least $1 million in Iowa this year and is the third recent $1 million prize winner in the Cedar Rapids area.

"Iowa is definitely seeing a run of lottery millionaires these days," Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich said Thursday.

Booth bought his winning ticket at Casey's, 3625 Edgewood Road S.W. in Cedar Rapids, while stopping for a snack. His ticket originally matched the first five numbers but missed the Mega Ball to win a $250,000 prize in Tuesday's drawing. But Booth also had added the Megaplier® option to the winning play, which multiplied the prize to $1 million.

If your ticket matches the first five numbers in a Mega Millions drawing and you've added the Megaplier, the prize you'll win is always $1 million, no matter what the Megaplier number is for that drawing.

Booth said he already had planned to retire early before his big win, so his lottery prize will make retirement that much more secure.

"I'll invest it and let that go as it will," he said. "I'm retiring next year anyway, so this will hopefully help on that end."

The winning numbers in Tuesday's $24 million Mega Millions jackpot drawing were: 3-9-11-44-49 and Mega Ball 9. The Megaplier number was 4.

Players can multiply their prizes (except the jackpot) with the Megaplier. The cost is $1 per play. No one won the jackpot in Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing, so it climbs to an estimated $33 million for Friday's drawing.

Booth joked that he'll probably be the talk of the town in Palo, population 870. So do people call him lucky?

"Not yet, but I think they will now!" he said with a smile.

Powerball and Mega Millions are both lotto games with jackpot prizes that have climbed into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Until recently, the games had been sold by separate groups of lotteries, but many states, including Iowa, began selling tickets in both games in January 2010.

The Cedar Rapids area's other recent $1 million prize winners were Eric Shaffer of Marion, who won a $1 million prize in March with a Powerball ticket he purchased while stopping for a soda and newspaper at a Cedar Rapids convenience store; and Susan and Clyde Hendricks of Marion, who won a $1 million Powerball prize in December 2008 with a ticket they purchased in Swisher while out looking at holiday lights with friends.

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