Mark Niehaus Wins Top Prize of $30,000 Playing "Twisted" Scratch Game
DES MOINES, Iowa - When an Elkader man's favorite Iowa Lottery scratch ticket ran out in the instant ticket machine at his local retailer, he decided to try a different one and ended up winning a top prize of $30,000.
Mark Niehaus, 54, said he usually plays the "Crossword" instant-scratch game, but when they ran out at Fast Trak, 24687 Hwy. 13 in Elkader, he decided to try the "Twisted" game.
"I scratched it and I thought, 'Oh, that can't possibly be a winner. I must've scratched something off that wasn't there,'" Niehaus said.
Niehaus said he was alone in his kitchen when he scratched the ticket and had to double-check to make sure he was a winner.
"I looked again and saw that it was right and wow… I was glad I was sitting down!" he said.
Niehaus took his ticket to a different retailer to have it validated.
"I took it to a place that had a self-scanner," Niehaus said. "By that time my wife had come home so she went with me. We scanned it and saw it was actually a winner and then we freaked out."
Niehaus said he stopped at the Fast Trak where he purchased the ticket to tell them about his big news.
"They got a pretty big charge out of it," he said.
Niehaus has also told a few family members the news, as well as some coworkers from his farm.
He said he plans to use some of his winnings to pay bills as well as have a bit of fun. Niehaus claimed his prize Monday at the Iowa Lottery's regional office in Cedar Rapids.