A Suttons Bay man who is “rich with family” now has cash to match after winning an $80 million Powerball jackpot from the Michigan Lottery.
Phillip Chippewa, 54, matched all of the winning numbers – 01-09-22-36-68 – and the Powerball 22 in the Sept. 21 drawing to win the big prize. He bought the winning ticket at the Barrels & Barrels Party Store, located at 1375 SW Bayshore Drive in Suttons Bay. Suttons Bay is about 20 miles north of Traverse City.
“Any time I see the jackpot getting up there I buy a few tickets and hope for the best,” said Chippewa. “I stopped at Barrels and Barrels the day of the drawing and almost walked out without buying the tickets, but at the last minute, I decided to get four plays.”
It wasn’t until the next evening that Chippewa gave another thought to his Powerball tickets.
“I was at work and my sister sent me a text saying that someone who played at Barrels and Barrels won the Powerball jackpot,” said Chippewa’s wife, Dawn. “My first thought was: ‘He better have bought some tickets!’
“After I got home, we were doing our usual Sunday night routine when my sister sent another text to ask if we’d checked Phillip’s tickets. Until then I had forgotten all about the news of a big winner.”
“After I bought the tickets, I had put them away in my truck,” said Chippewa. “I ran out to take a look at them and I didn’t have to look past the first line to see I was the winner. Of course, my wife and son thought I was playing a trick, so my son pulled the numbers up on his phone and read them out loud while Dawn and I looked at the ticket together. By the time he was done, we both had tears in our eyes.”
To confirm they were big winners, the Chippewas decided to head back to Barrels and Barrels and have their ticket scanned.
“As soon as we walked in the clerk asked: ‘Are you guys the big winners?’ said Chippewa. “I handed him the ticket and said: ‘We’re about to find out.’ When the terminal printed a receipt saying to contact the Lottery, we knew our lives had changed.”
The Chippewas headed back home and contacted the rest of their family so they could share the good news.
“We called a family meeting and told all seven of our kids the good news,” said Chippewa. “There were a lot of emotions in that room because we’ve always put our family first and it hasn’t always been easy, but all of them were so happy for us.
“With seven children and 21 grandchildren, I’ve always said that I might not have the most money, but I am rich with family. Now, I have all the money I’ll ever need and can help my family for generations. That means everything to me.”
Chippewa chose to receive his $80 million jackpot as a one-time lump sum payment of $55.3 million, rather than an annuity. After tax withholdings, he will receive about $42 million. He plans to buy homes for himself and each of his children and continue to share his winnings with his family. A new Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a white Dodge Challenger also are on his shopping list.
“Winning is life changing, but it’s not going to change who we are,” said Chippewa, who is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. “My wife and I have been together for 25 years, we’ve always helped others and we’re both still working.
“Every day when I come to work my boss asks me: ‘Why are you here?’ I just tell him that I was hired to do a job and I’m not going to abandon anyone just because I won. We’ll both retire in time, but we believe in being good to the community that has been so good to us.”
Chippewa’s big win marks the fourth time a Michigan player has won the Powerball jackpot since the state began offering the game in 2010. The last Michigan player to win the Powerball jackpot was Julie Leach, of Three Rivers. In 2015, Leach won the game’s $310.5 million jackpot.
In 2012, Donald Lawson, of Lapeer, won $337 million playing the Powerball game. Lawson’s jackpot win holds the record for the largest Lottery prize ever paid in Michigan.
Powerball plays may be purchased for $2 each at Lottery retailers across the state and online at MichiganLottery.com. A “Power Play” option that multiplies non-jackpot prizes by up to 10 times to a maximum of $2 million may be added to any Powerball play for only $1.
The Powerball drawing takes place at 10:59 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday and may be watched live online at: http://www.powerball.com. Powerball tickets are sold in 44 states, Washington D.C., U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.