BOISE, Idaho – Thirty-four employees from the HVAC Shop at the University of Utah became the largest group ever to split a $1,000,000 prize from the Idaho Lottery today when they claimed a winning Powerball ticket from last Saturday evening.
The group has been playing regularly since February 2001, each pitching in $10 every few weeks. They won playing a set of numbers from the original tickets they first purchased 12 years ago. The winning ticket was sold at the Pilot Travel Center in McCammon, Idaho, located in Bannock County. The ticket was purchased on behalf of the group by Steve Hughes.
“I was headed back to I-15 and needed to get some gas,” explained Hughes. “After I was done, my dog Stella locked me out. I was there for 45 minutes trying to get into my truck. I decided to buy my tickets there and it turned out to be the $1,000,000 winner!”
The group chartered a “fun bus” to bring them collectively from the parking lot of Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City to Idaho Lottery offices in Boise. The contingent collected their winnings while chanting “Go Utes” and a chorus of “Utah Man!” Many in the group from the HVAC Shop are long time employees of the University of Utah, some working on campus facilities for over 30 years.
According to Hughes, most in the group already have plans for their winnings including outdoor sportsman equipment like ATV’s, fishing gear, or new trucks. Each member of the group received $19,875. The Idaho Lottery also offered each winner a souvenir frame for their winner’s photo. The frames come in their choice of either blue or red. Not too surprisingly, all of the winners selected red frames.
For their part in selling the winning ticket, Pilot Travel Centers receives a bonus from the Idaho Lottery of $20,000.