Two friends from Delta County will go down in Michigan Lottery history after winning $448,055 playing The Jack. It is the largest The Jack prize ever won by a Lottery player since the game’s debut on June 1, 2009.
Tonya Hanson, of Rapid River, and Dale Lehtikangas, of Gladstone, won $448,055 when their easy pick The Jack numbers – 31, 35, 36, 53, 55, 58, 60, 62 – matched eight of the 20 Club Keno numbers drawn in draw 1233879 on Wednesday evening. They bought their winning ticket at the Swallow Inn Bar, located at 10468 South Main Street in Rapid River.
“I watched people play The Jack and it just kept climbing all day while I was working,” said Hanson, who works at the Swallow Inn Bar. “After my shift, I sat at the end of the bar to have a drink and see if I’d have better luck playing The Jack, and that’s when Dale walked in.”
“I came into the bar, and Tonya invited me to come sit by her,” said Lehtikangas. “She told me how high The Jack was and asked if I wanted to go in on a ticket with her. We each put in $5 and started watching the draws.”
As Dale turned his attention to something else, Tonya was glued to the Club Keno monitor. She saw their first seven The Jack numbers drawn and buried her head in her hands.
“I just couldn’t watch anymore,” said Hanson. “I handed the ticket to Dale and said: ‘If the number 35 comes up we’ll win The Jack!’”
The number 35 was drawn, making the pair big winners. A celebration ensued inside the Swallow Inn Bar.
“I was in disbelief, and still can’t really believe it,” said Lehtikangas. “I handed the ticket back to Tonya and she had the bar keeper scan it. That’s when it started to sink in that we had won. We quickly signed the back of the ticket and took it to a local bank for safe keeping.”
The pair decided to form a Lottery club – The Swallow Inn Bar Club – to claim their big prize. They split the prize equally, each receiving more than $224,000.
“We’ve know each other for a long time, but this was the first time we ever played the Lottery together,” said Lehtikangas. “We may have to try our luck more often.”
With their winnings, both Tonya and Dale plan to pay off bills and make some home improvements.
“We didn’t win millions, but this certainly is life changing,” Hanson said.
The Jack is a Club Keno add-on game that players may add to their Club Keno wager for just $1 per draw. With The Jack, players get eight easy pick numbers to match to the Club Keno numbers drawn. Players may win prizes ranging from $1 to the jackpot. The jackpot starts at $10,000 and grows until it is won. To win the jackpot, players must match all eight numbers.
Club Keno may be played at the 11,000 Lottery retailers across the state. Drawings are every three and a half minutes. Results and live drawings may be found online at www.michiganlottery.com.