(PIERRE) – After a week of keeping it a secret from everyone, including most of her family, Michelle Bathke of Mitchell finally broke the news: she’s the owner of the jackpot-winning ticket from the May 18, 2011 Dakota Cash drawing.
On May 27, 2011, Bathke claimed her $177,068 prize at the Sioux Falls Lottery office. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1:324,632.
The winning ticket was purchased at Casey’s General Store on Main Street in Mitchell, which will receive a bonus of $5,000 for selling the Quick Pick ticket. Bathke, who’s an occasional lottery player, says it wasn’t the large jackpot for that night’s drawing that prompted her to buy a Dakota Cash ticket.
“I was driving by Casey’s and just happened to have some time so I thought I’d stop in and pick up a ticket,” Bathke said.
She found out the day after the drawing what a good idea that had been. Bathke was doing some work on her home computer when she remembered that she’d purchased a ticket so she pulled up the Lottery website to check her numbers.
“At that point, I didn’t even know somebody from Mitchell had won. I was shocked to see that my numbers matched and then I couldn’t believe I had the winning ticket. So I called my husband and made him come home and look at the ticket, too. He confirmed that I had a winner!” she said.
It was then that the couple made the decision to keep the good news to themselves until they could get to Sioux Falls to claim the jackpot.
“No one knew until last night (Thurs., May 26); then we told my parents and our kids. It was hard keeping it a secret the first day or two but after that it got easier,” Bathke laughed.
Bathke, who sells real estate for Crane Realty in Mitchell, and her husband, Jeff, have three children. While some of her winnings will pay for upgrades to the family’s home, she also plans to save and invest a good portion of the money. She says although it’s been a week since the drawing, a bit of the shock of being a jackpot winner still remains.
“It’s still exciting,” she said. “And it’s nice to have the extra money. As to whether I’ll keep playing, when I think about buying a ticket, I will. You can’t win if you don’t play.”
Dakota Cash is played and won only in South Dakota. The jackpot currently sits at $20,000 for the next drawing on Sat., May 28, 2011.