Queen of hearts good for $100,000
By Sally Voth -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- They say a man's home is his castle, and in Scott Hockman's case, he has the Queen of Hearts to thank for his.
The 37-year-old won $100,000 on Jan. 5 in the Woodstock Moose Lodge 575's Queen of Hearts game. That money will come in handy when he closes on his house later this month.
"The game had been going on for 51 weeks," lodge administrator Denny Renner said.
A deck of 54 cards -- including jokers -- are placed face down on a board with numbers on the back of them. They're double-sealed. Players buy $1 tickets to get their names placed in a tumbler, Renner said. He said there was a drawing every Thursday night, and the person whose name was drawn got to pick a card, hoping to turn over the Queen of Hearts.
The jackpot each week depended on how many tickets had been sold so far in the game. The tickets were thrown out each week.
On Jan. 5, the game was down to four cards, Renner said. The $100,000 limit was reached 2 1⁄2 months ago, he said.
Hockman, who is a member of Strasburg Moose 1319, said he started playing the game about a month or two ago, spending about $50 or $60. On the night he won, there were about 25,000 tickets in the tumbler, he said.
Hockman was at his job at RR Donnelly & Sons when he got a phone call that his name had been drawn and the card number he wrote on the back of his ticket was the winner.
"It was a shocker," he said.
Left shaking and speechless, Hockman barely slept that night. He had recently signed papers for a contract on a house.
"My loan officer was the second guy that I actually called, saying, 'We might need to hold off on that loan,'" recalled Hockman, who is engaged to Carrie Baldwin and doesn't have children.
This will be the first house he's owned, the Strasburg native said.
"It just couldn't have come at a better time for me," he said. "It makes that a whole lot easier."
Baldwin was thrilled with his big win, too.
"She was one minute crying, the next minute jumping for joy, and then crying again," Hockman said. "I'm still speechless. It's kind of unbelievable. I know people were coming from everywhere playing that thing.
"Thank you very much to the Woodstock Moose and all their officers and employees, and everybody involved with the game," he said.
Renner was also grateful for the extra work his employees did, and for all of the members of the Moose and their guests. Toward the end of the game, people were coming from as away as Roanoke, Lynchburg and West Virginia.
During the life of the game, $373,365 -- from which the big prize was taken -- was raised, Renner said. Thirty percent of the proceeds go back to the lodge for operations, and 10 percent went to the Virginia Office of Charitable Gaming, Renner said.
Already, the lodge has donated $30,000 to charities within the community and $20,000 to Moose International's Mooseheart, a home and school for needy children, and Moosehaven, which houses seniors, Renner said.
"[The game] brought us in a good revenue that we could give away," he said. "We've been taking care of a lot of the charities here. That's what the Moose Lodge is all about."
While Hockman's win was from the first Queen of Hearts game Lodge 575 had, the second one starts Jan. 26.
"We started selling tickets today, and they're already coming," Renner said.