A lucky Chelsea man got an early birthday present courtesy of the Michigan Lottery’s Money Tree instant game.
James Picklesimer, who will turn 53 on Wednesday, won $500,000 playing the Lottery’s Money Tree instant game. He bought his winning ticket at the Chelsea Shell gas station, located at 1629 South Main Street in Chelsea.
“When I scratched off the ’15’ in the bottom corner of the ticket, I thought the prize was $50,000,” said Picklesimer. “It wasn’t until I took my glasses off and gave the ticket another look that I figured out I had actually won $500,000.”
Even though he had just won a life-changing amount of money, Picklesimer remained calm.
“When I realized I had a huge winner, I was calm as a cucumber,” said Picklesimer. “I went back inside the Shell station to tell the clerk I had a big winner and I gave her all of the money in my pocket as a thank you. Then I called my sister to tell her the good news.
“I like playing the newer instant games and I had a feeling I had a big win coming, I just had no idea it would be for $500,000!”
Picklesimer recently visited Lottery headquarters to claim his prize. With his winnings, he plans to buy a new vehicle, give the clerk at the Shell a “thank you” bonus, and save the remainder.
“My philosophy has always been that somebody is going to win playing Lottery games, and if you don’t play, it won’t be you,” Picklesimer said.
Players have won more than $6.7 million playing Money Tree, which launched in October. Each $10 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $10 up to $500,000. More than $12 million in prizes remain, including one $500,000 prize, nine $5,000 prizes, and 75 $1,000 prizes.
Lottery instant games may be purchased at 11,000 retailers across the state.