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Office Pool Of 2 Claims $1 Million Mega Millions Prize Won In Central Iowa

Randy Ferris and Colton Snyder Split the Big Prize

Randy Ferris and Colton Snyder

CLIVE, Iowa — Two central Iowa man joked that they may be the world's tiniest lottery office pool, but they still hit big.

Randy Ferriss of Nevada and Colton Snyder of Huxley on Thursday claimed a $1 million Mega Millions® prize they won two days earlier. The long-time employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Ames said they've pooled their money for years to play the lottery, and at different times, there were more members in the group.

"I wanted to stop several times, but Colton wouldn't let us," Ferriss said.

Snyder added: "Yeah, we had to keep rolling."

Ferriss, who buys their office pool tickets, said they won their $1 million prize with smaller winnings from recent tickets.

Snyder put it this way: "We turned a $2 winner into $1 million!"

Ferriss tempered that: "But we've been playing a long time."

Ferriss bought the $1 million-winning ticket at Casey's, 1800 S. B Ave. in Nevada. Their ticket came within one number of having a share of Tuesday's $20 million Mega Millions jackpot, matching the first five numbers but missing the Mega Ball.

Their ticket was one of four in the country to win a $1 million prize in Tuesday's drawing, with the others in California, Maryland and Ohio.

Tuesday's winning numbers were: 7-9-15-19-25 and Mega Ball 4. The Megaplier® was 2. With Tuesday's $20 million jackpot won in New York, the big prize remains at an estimated $20 million annuity, $10.5 million lump-sum option, for the game's next drawing on Friday.

Ferriss and Snyder are both 52 and have worked together for 26 years. Snyder said another co-worker broke the news on Wednesday that a big lottery prize had been won in Iowa.

"One of the guys got a notification, it popped up on his phone," Snyder said. "And he said, 'Oh, my goodness! There was a $1 million winner, and the ticket was sold at Casey's in Nevada.' And I said, 'Wow! That's where Randy buys our tickets! I wonder if it could be us?'"

Snyder said he truly didn't know at the time that they'd won because Ferriss, who had the ticket in his wallet, hadn't checked it yet. Fast forward to Wednesday evening, and Ferriss started calling him. Then Ferriss instigated a bit of a road trip as they tried to believe their eyes.

"I looked at it and then I realized, 'Maybe.'" Ferriss said. "And then I went to Casey's and checked it. And then I called Colton and I said, 'We'd better go to the Casey's in Huxley to check it.' So we did that. And then I checked it online to verify. You know, it's one of those stories where you're not really sure."

Snyder had to rib his friend a bit: "He was still worried we were doing something wrong!"

The two in fact were not doing anything wrong, and on Thursday, they claimed their prize.

Both planned to take time to decide what to do with their winnings.

Ferriss said that he and his wife will probably pay off their house and then "kind of figure out where to go from there."

"We haven't had much time to really formulate a plan, but I don't want to do anything rash or quickly," he said.

Snyder has some house projects in mind.

"My wife and I have been talking about some small home improvements," he said. "We'll probably do that for sure."

The two said they plan to keep playing the lottery together in their office pool, but just this once, they won't let their winnings keep rolling.

"I did check with Colton this morning to see if he wanted to let this ride and buy more tickets with it, but he said no," Ferriss said as they laughed.

Ferriss and Snyder claimed the third sizeable lottery prize won in Iowa this month.

On April 10, a Dubuque man claimed a $40.03 million Lotto America® jackpot, while on April 11, a Davenport man claimed a $500,000 top prize in an Iowa Lottery scratch game.

Casey's will receive a $1,000 bonus from the Iowa Lottery for selling the $1 million-winning ticket in Nevada.

The Iowa Lottery emphasizes the importance of players checking their tickets, and two situations in central Iowa demonstrate why that matters.

The Casey's in Nevada that sold this week's big winner is the same store that sold a ticket winning a $1 million Powerball® prize that expired without being claimed in April 2019. The Iowa Lottery gave players another shot at the winnings through a promotion that same year, and a group of 34 co-workers at a Cedar Rapids company ended up splitting the prize.

In addition, a $1 million Mega Millions prize won in nearby Ames has now been unclaimed for nearly eight months. That winning ticket was purchased at Gateway Expresse (also known as The Filling Station), at 2400 S. University Blvd. in Ames. It matched all five white balls but missed the Mega Ball to win at the game's second prize level in the drawing on Sept. 6, 2022. The winner or winners of the Ames prize have until the close of business on Sept. 6, 2023, to claim it.

Players in $2 Mega Millions choose their first five numbers from a pool of 70, and another number - called the Mega Ball - from a separate pool of 25. The Megaplier option is available for an extra $1 per play.

Powerball® and Mega Millions are both lotto games with jackpot prizes that have climbed into the billions of dollars. But while Powerball's drawings are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, Mega Millions drawings are on Tuesdays and Fridays.

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