2010-12-17 20:09:32.327

Co-Workers Claim $829,986 Show Me Cash Jackpot

Story Photo video icon audio icon James “Jim” Hentis of Red Bud, Ill., and Gerard “Jerry” Schallom of St. Louis have been friends for more than 20 years, co-workers for more than three years and Missouri Lottery enthusiasts for as long as they can recall.  On Dec. 3, they added another credential to their repertoire – winners of the largest Show Me Cash jackpot to date – $829,986.

The linemen for the Ameren Corp. “usually put in $5 and buy Show Me Cash and Lotto and Powerball” tickets during fuel stops.  While filling up their truck with gasoline at QuikTrip, 9101 Gravois Road in St. Louis, Hentis, 50, and Schallom, 49, remembered that they had won a free play in a Show Me Cash drawing from earlier in the week.  They exchanged the free play for a Quick Pick ticket for the Show Me Cash drawing on Dec. 3.  The first-time Lottery winners stored the Show Me Cash ticket with a few of their Lotto and Powerball tickets in their truck.

“We thought about checking them, but we forgot to do it,” Schallom explained, noting that they worked on Friday and Saturday with the tickets in their vehicle.  “They sat up in the visor of our work truck on Sunday.  We worked all day on Monday.  Then, we stopped at QuikTrip for a soda and snack, and I said, ‘I’ll check the tickets.’”

When Schallom scanned the Show Me Cash ticket, he “literally almost fell over.”

“We watched the (store security) video, and I stumbled back against the glass holding my heart like, ‘Oh, my gosh!’” he recalled with a laugh.  “I said, ‘Jim, we won!’  And, he’s like, ‘Yeah right!’” 

Schallom showed Hentis the winning ticket, which “made his mouth drop.” 

While the lucky linemen were on the way out of the store, Schallom decided to scan the ticket a few more times for good measure.  The friends admitted to scanning the ticket a total of six times at QuikTrip and two additional times at other convenience stores.

“I turned around, and I ran back to the machine, and I stuck it underneath there again,” Schallom noted.  “It was pretty funny to watch the video of it.  It was pretty exciting.”

As for plans for the windfall, Schallom said, “Nothing has changed too much.” 

“I’ve just been going out a lot with my buddies and picking up the tabs,” he shared.

The father of one added that in addition to paying off his home, car and investing, he will use the funds towards paying for his daughter’s college education.

“I can’t get the smile off my face!” he exclaimed.

Hentis added that he’s still in “shock and disbelief” about the win.

“I just kind of stood there and didn’t know what to do,” Hentis recalled, referring to the moment he learned that they had won the $829,986 Show Me Cash jackpot.

Hentis, who immediately called his wife, said she and their three children “didn’t believe it either.” 

“And then they (children) started realizing it, and started thinking of all the stuff they could get,” joked Hentis.

Hentis and Schallom have been “getting a lot of ‘congratulations’ and phone calls” since news of the win broke.

“It’s starting to sink in,” Hentis concluded.  “The future looks a little brighter!”

QuikTrip received a bonus equal to 1 percent of the jackpot amount for selling the winning ticket.

Show Me Cash offers a rolling jackpot starting at $50,000, which increases by at least $5,000 at each drawing.  Hentis and Schallom split the 118th Show Me Cash jackpot.  To date, more than $16.5 million has been awarded in jackpot prizes alone since the game began on Sept. 8, 2008.

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