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Thursday, November 29, 2012 3:15 PM

Burlington couple among $10K Powerball winners

Special to The Ottawa Herald

TOPEKA — A Burlington couple with family in Ottawa, playing Powerball for the very first time, has claimed a $10,000 prize for matching four of the first five numbers and the Powerball in Wednesday night’s record-setting $587.5 million drawing.

Connie and Randy Leal said they drove from Burlington to Topeka Wednesday afternoon to have lunch. They had heard all the hoopla about the Powerball drawing. On a whim, they decided to purchase their first Powerball ticket — five plays for $10.

“Like most people, I started thinking about all the things we would do with the money if we won the jackpot,” Connie Leal said. “As the numbers came up on television, I wrote them down to check against our ticket. We were totally surprised when we saw how close we came to winning the jackpot!”

The winning numbers in Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing were 5-16-22-23-29 Powerball 6. The Neals had 05-14-22-23-29 Powerball 6. Despite missing the jackpot by one number, the Leals said they were extremely happy to have won $10,000 and will put the money to good use.

Six months ago, the couple moved to Kansas from Illinois to be closer to Connie’s family in Ottawa. She said money has been tight.

“We just closed on a house. Randy is undergoing kidney dialysis and just got a pacemaker,” Connie Leal said. “We’ve been struggling, and this money is going to help a lot.”

“We were very lucky to win big the very first time we played Powerball,” Randy said. “I’m sure we’ll play again. We’re definitely ahead of the game.”

The Leals purchased their lucky Powerball ticket at Kwik Shop 781, located at 4500 S. Topeka Blvd. in Topeka.

 Kansas had a total of six $10,000 winning tickets in Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing.

The first $10,000 ticket to be claimed at the Kansas Lottery headquarters belonged to a Topeka resident who asked the Lottery not to disclose his identify.  That ticket was purchased at Whitelakes 66, located at 931 SW 37th St. in Topeka.

The $587.5 million jackpot was captured by players in two states: Arizona and Missouri.

The Kansas Lottery reported a record $5.4 million in Kansas sales for Wednesday’s drawing.

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