2002-05-16 09:14:47.0


A Henley man can cruise in style this spring after uncovering a 2002 Ford Explorer and $500 in the Missouri Lottery’s "Explore Missouri" Scratchers game. Mark Whittle, 39, said he stopped in Schulte’s Fresh Foods in Jefferson City on May 8 for a USA Today newspaper. While there, he put $5 in the Missouri Lottery’s instant ticket vending machine, intending to buy one $3 "Fast Tracks" tickets and one $2 "Explore Missouri" ticket. As fate would have it, the "Fast Tracks" tickets were out, so Whittle added $1 more and bought three "Explore Missouri" tickets; and when he scratched them off later at home, the winning ticket -- worth a new Ford Explorer -- was the third ticket. "If that $3 ticket hadn’t been out, someone else would have won," said Whittle, who is the manager at Highway 54 Gas & More in Jefferson City, Whittle said he has been telling people that he needed a new vehicle since the ’92 Chevy Cavalier he drives has 175,000 miles on it. He said he is also pleased to know that the new Explorer is a gray blue. "I love the Dallas Cowboys, and that is one of their colors," he said. The "Explore Missouri" Scratchers game officially went on sale April 6. Players can win cash prizes of up to $20,000 or one of five 2002 Ford Explorers and $500 cash in the instant-win game. If the ticket is a non-winner, the player can use it to enter the "Explore Missouri" promotion by logging on and entering the 14-digit serial number on the back of their non-winning ticket. Players can also enter the promotion by mailing their tickets to: Explore Missouri, Missouri Lottery, P.O. Box 104711, Jefferson City, Mo., 65110-4711. The promotion, which is a cooperative effort between the Missouri Lottery and the Missouri Division of Tourism, offers players a chance to turn their non-winning "Explore Missouri" Scratchers tickets into a weekend getaway to one of five locations - St. Louis, Kansas City, Hannibal, Branson or Lake of the Ozarks. The two-night getaway packages include hotel stays, gift certificates for restaurants, gas and area shopping, and a lottery prize package. Packages for St. Louis, Kansas City and Branson include four tickets to either an amusement park or a professional baseball game. For more information, visit the Lottery’s Web site at

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