2010-04-09 09:36:23.13

Lockwood Group Claims $25,000 Scratchers Prize

Story Photo audio icon When Bill Dodson, the owner of Pump-N-Pantry in Lockwood, organized a group of lottery players in his store, little did he know that it would lead to such a great outcome.  Something of a numbers buff, Dodson spent some time thinking about the odds on Scratchers tickets and decided that if people pooled their money, then they could play a greater number of tickets and have a better shot at hitting a big one.  The plan worked to perfection.  A group started on March 9 in Lockwood, played together for a little more than a month until hitting their first big win – the $25,000 top prize on a Missouri Lottery "Cherry Twist" Scratchers ticket.   
"We meet at 5:30 p.m. each Tuesday," explained Dodson.  "There’s a $20 buy-in, and we use a random number generator to pick the ticket.  We continue to keep going and scratching.  It’s kind of the laws of average – we go through quite a few tickets there in Lockwood.  The fourth ticket we scratched was a $25,000 winner." 
Dodson, who usually participates in the group, was not part of the group on the night that they won – April 6.  Like a lot of people that week, he had other obligations when the group met to play.  Dodson speculates that the weather and school activities probably kept people away from the Pump-N-Pantry, 102 W. Fourth St., in Lockwood.  There were only three people participating that night, and they will split the $25,000 prize evenly.   
The group of lucky players includes:  Peggy Fisher, 52, and Dannie Bettis, 53, both of Lockwood; and Brian Stidham, 48, of South Greenfield.  
Stidham, speaking on behalf of the group, said that he didn’t know his new best friends until they started playing the Lottery together. 
"Bill, he put a flyer up that said every Tuesday we’d get together and have this little club that, you know, we’d try our luck, because the more tickets you buy, the better the odds.  And that’s how we got started," he said. 
The group pooled their money and decided that "Cherry Twist" would be the game for the night. 
"We got down to $16, so we bought eight of the ’Cherry Twist’ (tickets), and there it was," Stidham recalled about finding the winning ticket.  "We just went nuts!" 
Since the winners are splitting the prize, Stidham said that he would probably just "put the money in the bank and see how long it lasts."  Some of the winnings may be used to fund another "Pump" players’ group night. 
"I imagine we’ll have more next week," said Stidham.  "There were a few people who didn’t put in this week, and now they’re kicking themselves for not doing it."
"Cherry Twist" is a $2 game that officially began on December 25, 2009.  The top prize is $25,000, of which several remain.

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