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Eastern Iowa Woman Claims $1 Million Mega Millions Prize

Urbana Woman Has Iowa's 3rd Big Lottery Win In 2021

Karen Kramer

CLIVE, Iowa - An eastern Iowa woman who bought a Mega Millions® ticket while on a weekend getaway to her cabin along the Mississippi River has won a $1 million prize.

"I saw a '1' with some zeroes," Karen Kramer of Urbana said as she claimed her prize Thursday at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive. "I didn't think about how many I saw at first, then it hit me."

Convinced that the information on the lottery's mobile app was wrong, she checked her ticket again - and again.

"I rechecked everything because I thought, 'Well, my phone's wrong.' And it came up again the same," said Kramer, 60, who works as a para-educator in her local school district. "So I went on the website, then I went and checked on Facebook and it said that the winning ticket had been won at Barry's. And I'm going, 'OK, that's me!'"

Kramer said she sent a text to her husband, Brad, which initially worried him because he only saw the first sentence: "Lightning struck us." Then he read the rest of her message where she said she went on to say: "On Mega Millions, I won $1 million! But please don't tell anybody yet."

The couple managed to keep Karen's big win a secret, not even telling their three adult children before she claimed the prize.

"I wanted to wait until this was done and send them a picture to let them know, or at least have them call us," Karen Kramer said with a smile.

While Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot of $56 million was won in Illinois, Kramer's ticket was just one number away from a share of the big prize, matching the first five numbers but missing the Mega Ball.

Tuesday's winning numbers were: 9-22-39-41-54 and Mega Ball 19. The Megaplier® was 3.

Kramer's ticket was one of just two in the country that won a $1 million prize that night, with the other in West Virginia.

Kramer bought her lucky ticket at Barry's Mini Mart, 403 W. Chestnut St. in Harpers Ferry, the community in northeast Iowa where she and her husband have their cabin. Barry's Mini Mart will receive a $1,000 bonus from the Iowa Lottery for selling the $1 million-winning ticket.

Kramer said she has long predicted a big lottery win.

"I've always told my husband that I'm going to win the lottery," she said. "I said, 'I have the right numbers, they just don't pick my numbers.'"

Kramer said that she usually buys one play where she chooses her own numbers, then adds four easy-pick plays where the lottery terminal assigns the numbers. She won big on one of the easy picks.

"I had a chance, and lightning struck me," she said. "It can do it again, too! And so yesterday, I went and bought my lottery tickets. I'm prepared. It may not ever happen again, but that's OK, too."

Kramer said that she and her husband plan to invest the bulk of her winnings for retirement and pay some bills. But she's also got a four-footed addition to their home in mind.

"I want to get a dog," she said.

With Tuesday's jackpot being won in Illinois, the big prize returns to an estimated $20 million annuity, $13.8 million lump-sum option, for the game's next drawing on Friday.

Kramer's prize is the third of at least $500,000 won in Iowa this year.

Players in $2 Mega Millions choose their first five numbers from a pool of 70, and another number - called the Mega Ball - from a separate pool of 25. The Megaplier option is available for an extra $1 per play.

Powerball® and Mega Millions are both lotto games with jackpot prizes that have topped $1 billion. But while Powerball's drawings are on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Mega Millions drawings are on Tuesdays and Fridays.

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