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West Burlington Woman Stops For Coffee, Wins $25,000 Lottery Prize

Tara Thuleen Wins First Top Prize Playing "Lucky Elves Bingo" Scratch Game

Tara Thuleen   Hear Tara tell her story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A West Burlington woman's stop for coffee led to her winning the first top prize playing the lottery's "Lucky Elves Bingo" instant-scratch game.

Tara Thuleen, 37, was on her way to work at Embellishments & Designs in Burlington, which she co-owns with her father and does embroidery, when she stopped to pick up some coffee.

"I just randomly said, 'Give me one of those Bingo tickets,'" Thuleen said. "As I kept going down the card I got to the second to last number and said to my dad, 'I think I just won $25,000! I got an 'X!'"

Thuleen said she and her dad were in such shock, she took it back to Kum & Go, 421 N. Main St. in Burlington to have it validated.

"It had only been about 15 minutes since I bought this crazy thing and I handed it back to the gal who sold it to me as I was shaking and I said, 'There is an 'X' there!' And she said, 'My, goodness, there is! Sign that ticket, right now!'" Thuleen said.

Thuleen said the first person she called to tell was her husband, Bruce.

"I said, 'Are you sitting down? I just won $25,000!' And he said, 'Oh, I thought you were going to tell me you were pregnant!'" Thuleen said with a laugh.

She said her mom didn't believe her at first. Thuleen has also shared the news with other family members, who have all been happy for her.

Thuleen said she plans to use some of her winnings to pay bills, as well as purchase a newer dining set and refrigerator.

"It's lame stuff, but it's stuff I've been wanting!" Thuleen said.

Thuleen said she's shocked about the win because she doesn't play very often.

"I'm not religious about it," she said. "My husband plays Powerball® and is always teasing me that he won't have to work when he wins big."

Thuleen claimed her prize Oct. 12 at the Iowa Lottery's regional office in Cedar Rapids.

Players can "Super Tech" the Halls in the Iowa Lottery's Super Tech promotion this holiday season. All ten holiday instant-scratch tickets can be entered online for a chance to win one of 250 Sony® tech prizes or one of six "Super Prizes" valued at more than $4,900 each. The eligible tickets are: "Holiday Countdown," "Holiday Bonus Crossword," "Merry Crossword," "Lucky Elves Bingo," "Holiday Wishes," "Sparkling Winnings," "Betty Boop™," "Snow Bank," "Santa Games Doubler" and "Winter Bucks." To participate in Super Tech, a player must register for a free Iowa Lottery VIP Club account at ialottery.com. Registration is a one-time process. All holiday tickets entered into Super Tech will also earn players "Points For Prizes™" points that can be used in the Iowa Lottery's online store.