BOISE, Idaho – For Jim Fowler, making the drive to Idaho once every five weeks is as much about getting chicken wings at the Chat & Chew in Malad as it is about playing the Idaho Lottery. That was until his traditional trip landed him the Wild Card jackpot from last Saturday night’s draw, winning him $349,561.
“I brag about their chicken wings. We get in the truck and drive up, and man, we get about 30 miles from Malad and I can smell the wings,” described Fowler on his regular trips to the Chat & Chew that he has been making for six years. “We have our chicken wings, get our Lottery tickets for the next five weeks, ten draws worth, then head back home.”
Fowler, from his home in West Jordan, Utah, said he was checking his numbers on the Idaho Lottery’s website late on Saturday night when he discovered his quick pick ticket had matched all the numbers and the Wild Card.
“I thought he was joking when he leaned out and said ‘I think I won the Lottery!’” said Connie Fowler, Jim’s wife, when they discovered they were holding the winning jackpot ticket. “We looked at those numbers and looked at those numbers.”
“It’s just not believable. I’m still in shock, we’re still shaking,” added Fowler. “When I called the Lottery a couple of days later, I could barely talk coherently.”
The Fowlers claimed their Wild Card jackpot late on Thursday afternoon at Idaho Lottery headquarters in Boise. They plan to manage their winnings wisely, working with their financial advisor and accountant. They plan to upgrade their kitchen and repair the house, maybe replace the truck Fowler has been driving for fifteen years, and then invest the balance of their winnings.
“We’re planning on making the trip back to Malad again this weekend,” said Fowler on their regular tradition. “They know us when we walk in and just ask us if we want fries with our wings today.”
Wild Card is played in four states, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. This is Idaho’s 21st Wild Card jackpot win since the game began in 1998.