A deer hunter brought back more bucks than his wife ever imagined.
Deb Meyer, of Prior Lake, and Andy Gibbons, of Ely, are this year’s $1 million winners in the Minnesota Lottery’s annual New Year’s Day raffle drawing.
Meyer’s husband brings her back a raffle ticket every year during his deer hunting trip, she said. On Nov. 2, he bought one at the Superpumper on University Avenue in Crookston.
Her husband had the ticket scanned back in the Twin Cities on New Year’s, was told it was a big winner, and that sent him checking a newspaper for the winning numbers.
“When he got home he said, ‘I think we’ll get to pay off the house this year,’ ” Deb Meyer recalled.
She claimed the big prize on Friday at lottery headquarters in Roseville. “Pinch me — I still can’t believe it’s real,” she said.
Gibbons said he awoke on the first day of 2019 and double-checked his ticket “eight times” to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.
Then he went to work.
“I actually had work to do, so I went to work,” Gibbons said. “I work at a camp, and there was some cleaning that needed to be done. I went to work and cleaned some lodges,” he said. “It didn’t really sink in until about 9 a.m.”
Gibbons found time off from his job and claimed his prize on Thursday.
Voyageur Short Stop on E. Sheridan Street in Ely sold Gibbons’ the winning ticket.
Both businesses each receive a $5,000 bonus for selling this year’s winning tickets.
The State Lottery has been running the Minnesota Millionaire Raffle every new year since 2006. It sells a limited number of tickets — this year capped at 700,000.
Each ticket costs $10. Numbers are then drawn to determine who wins cash or other prizes, such as new vehicles, vacation packages, free groceries and other payouts.
To win, the full six-digit number on the ticket must match one of the six-digit winning numbers drawn.
The raffle also sold five tickets worth $100,000 this year.