2011-12-22 08:21:45.44

Hillsboro Man Wins $50,000 Lottery Prize

Story Photo audio icon Michael Stephens was on his way to go fishing when he uncovered a top prize on a Missouri Lottery “Bonus Crossword” Scratchers ticket. Because of the way the game is played, the Hillsboro man didn’t know for sure what prize he won, which turned out to be $50,000.
“I was thinking $50, maybe $500 or something,” recalled Stephens. “But I never realized this. It’s unbelievable. It’s unreal.”
Stephens, who owns his own flooring business, bought the winning ticket at U-Gas, 5245 Towne South Road, in St. Louis. He was scratching it in the car during his trip “because it kills time,” and he knew he was on to a good one. Players uncover letters on the ticket to spell words. The number of words they spell determines the amount of the prize.
“I knew I had something. I kind of put it right in view,” he explained, thinking, “I’m going to have this checked.”
Stephens bought the ticket on the weekend, but showed up to claim the prize at the St. Louis Lottery office on his birthday, Dec. 19.
“I figured I’d get down here on my birthday,” he said. “I’m 52. I bought two tickets and won $50,000. I still can’t believe it.”
Stephens said his plans for the windfall were to “hide it.”
“It’s hard to get, boy,” he opined. “I’ll use it wisely. This is going to help me big time. ”
This is the first big win for the regular Lottery player, and Stephens said he would continue to play.
“I play everything, here and there. So I’ll just keep on going like I’m going,” he said. “Keep on trying.”
Bonus Crossword” is a $3 game that officially began July 2. The top prize in the game is $50,000, of which, only two remain. The Lottery just released the first ever $5 Crossword game, “$100,000 Crossword,” which features five top prizes of $100,000.

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