News

July 10, 2003

HERMANN COUPLE CLAIM MISSOURI'S LARGEST JACKPOT

Story Photo video icon A Hermann couple are doing the "Powerball Polka" after finding out they hold one of the two winning tickets for the July 9 Powerball drawing, which was worth $261.3 million.   William "Bill" and Claudia Walkenbach of Hermann discovered late last night that they hold one of the winning tickets, along with a player in Pennsylvania.  The Walkenbachs’ share of the prize - $130.6 million before taxes - is the largest jackpot ever won in Missouri Lottery history.

"It hasn’t sunk in yet," said Bill Walkenbach, 53, who is a production supervisor at JDX Inc. in New Haven. 

Claudia Walkenbach, 52, said she stopped in Hermann Fuel Mart, 115 B Highway 19 in Hermann, yesterday afternoon to buy a Hermann Advertiser-Courier newspaper.   After the purchase she had $5 left, so she decided to buy $5 worth of Powerball tickets.  She let the computer select the winning numbers.  They were:  19, 21, 26, 31, 51 and the Powerball number was 40.

Claudia, who is a substitute teacher for the Gasconade County R-I school district in Hermann, said she watched the 10 p.m. news on KRCG-TV in Jefferson City to get the winning numbers.

"I pulled the ticket out of my purse, and I thought to myself, ’I better not rip that in case it’s the winner,’" she said.

To her amazement, the last line of her ticket had all six numbers.

The Walkenbachs said they plan to share some of their winnings with their two grown sons.   Claudia Walkenbach joked about finally getting a new refrigerator to replace her 30-year-old model, and Bill Walkenbach teased that he plans to "finally get me a tractor with brakes" to replace his 1950 model tractor.

Hermann Fuel Mart will receive a bonus of $50,000 for selling a winning Powerball jackpot ticket.

To date, 187 jackpot tickets worth $1 million or more, including 22 in the Powerball game, have been sold since the Missouri Lottery began 17 years ago.   The Missouri Lottery ranks second in terms of Powerball jackpot winners among the 26 members.

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