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He Never Forecasted This: Meteorologist Wins Big Lottery Prize

Jason Sydejko Claims Prize Of More Than $16,000

Jason Sydejko

CLIVE, Iowa — His job is to make accurate forecasts, but something happened Monday that Jason Sydejko never expected: He claimed a big lottery prize.

Sydejko, a meteorologist at KCCI-TV in Des Moines, won a progressive jackpot of nearly $17,000 in one of the Iowa Lottery's InstaPlay games. His exact prize was $16,807.70 in the Cherry Twist Progressive game.

"I still feel like it's not totally real. It's like I'm in a dream," Sydejko said on Monday as he claimed his prize at lottery headquarters in Clive.

Sydejko, 38, admitted he was a little nervous about the reaction that the news staff at his television station would have because he worked all weekend and managed not to tell anyone at KCCI.

"It was almost me just seeing if I could do it," he said with a laugh. "Even on the way here, I almost texted someone because I was like, 'Well, I'm close.'"

Sydejko said he's a stats and numbers guy and that was what led him to start playing progressive InstaPlay games, which have jackpots that grow with each ticket sold statewide until someone wins it. He said that on Friday, he stopped at the Kum & Go convenience store at 1300 Keosauqua Way in Des Moines, near the station where he works, and bought five tickets in the Cherry Twist Progressive game.

He said he went back out to his car and started to drive away, but at the last minute, decided to check the tickets while he was still at the store to see if he had won anything. He looked over his tickets and got a shock.

"I was like, 'What happened?!'" he recalled. "And I looked down and I saw three hats in a line next to the 'progressive jackpot winner.' I ran back into the store and handed them my tickets and yelled that I had won."

Sydejko said he shared the news with his family, then decided to keep things quiet until he could claim the prize at the lottery. He kept the winning ticket in his wallet the entire weekend.

"It is so hard when you see a good friend of yours and not to say anything," he said, recalling the growing strain he felt over the weekend at work.

He said he plans to use his winnings to pay off his car and then likely buy a house. A bike-training machine may also be in his future.

Sydejko said he plans to continue buying the tickets for the Powerball® pool at work – assuming that his co-workers aren't too mad at him for not sharing his news sooner!

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