2000-03-07 11:09:01.947


The term "Super Tuesday" may have a whole new meaning for an Overland (Mo.) couple after winning $25.9 million in cash playing Powerball. Gary and Beverly Ruff were announced today as the Missouri winners who held one of three Powerball tickets that matched all six numbers drawn for Saturday night’s jackpot worth $150 million. The Ruffs decided to take the cash value of their $50 million share to receive $25,940,197.12 in one cash payment before taxes, becoming the recipients of the third-largest prize ever awarded by the Missouri Lottery. "Gary always said if we ever win the lottery, we’re going to go diving with the great whites on a barrier reef in Australia," Bev Ruff, 50, told lottery officials when they claimed their prize late Monday afternoon. Gary Ruff, 51, purchased the couple’s winning ticket Saturday afternoon when he stopped at Vickers, 10310 Page Blvd. in Overland, after work. Ruff, who quit his job Monday, was an iron worker. He let the computer randomly select the number combination on his ticket. The winning numbers were: 3, 6, 8, 43, 48 and the Powerball number was 1. Ruff discovered he held a winning ticket when he checked his tickets with the numbers published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "He shook quite a bit, so I had to take the paper out of his hands to check (the numbers)," Bev Ruff said. The rest of Sunday was spent at the St. Louis Home and Garden Show, an annual tradition with the Ruffs. "Nothing looked the same this year," Bev Ruff said. The Ruffs plan to buy a new house, two new cars and travel, mainly to exotic scuba-diving locations. Bev Ruff also plans to quit her job as a sales and customer service representative for Anheuser-Busch on the date of her employment anniversary - March 18. In addition to the Ruff’s payment, Vickers will receive a bonus check of $50,000 for selling the winning Powerball jackpot ticket. To date, 153 winning Missouri Lottery tickets worth $1 million or more have been sold since the Lottery began in January 1986. Missouri has sold the second-most winning Powerball jackpot tickets - a total of 16 - of all the 21 members.

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