By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
CLEAR BROOK -- Virginia Fike of Berryville stepped forward Friday as the first person to win two, $1 million Powerball games in one state lottery drawing.
The Clarke County resident appeared at a press conference held by Virginia Lottery officials at the OldeStone Truck Stop & Restaurant where she purchased both winning tickets for the April 7 drawing.
The 44-year-old lifelong county resident will take home $1.4 million after taxes.
The shock of winning not just $1 million, but $2 million, has not yet worn off, Fike told local media at the press event. Fike said she has not made plans to spend the money beyond paying bills.
"So, really it still just hasn't sunk in," Fike said. "It feels good but it's still, just like 'right, you know somebody's gonna pinch me and I'm gonna wake up and this'll all be a dream."
Her rare lottery ticket purchase came during one of her frequent visits to the store while doing errands.
Asked what advice she gives to frequent lottery players still waiting for a lucky break, Fike said:
"Just don't give up," she said. "It's gonna happen one day."
Asked whether she would continue to play, Fike said she's thinking about it.
Lottery officials say no one has ever bought two, $1 million winning tickets from the same store for the same drawing.
"I'd like you to imagine, if you would for a moment, imagine having a piece of paper and finding out that that piece of paper is worth $1 million," said John Hagerty, spokesman for the Virginia Lottery, before introducing the winner. "Well, Virginia Fike had two of those -- two Powerball tickets each worth $1 million."
Hagerty noted that Fike had not intended to play Powerball in the April 7 drawing but bought two tickets anyway. Fike matched the first five numbers on each ticket with the winning digits. She missed the Powerball numbers, he said.
Fike explained that she chose the numbers based on the fact her parents married May 13, when her mother was 17 and father was 20. She then divided the numbers by 65, the year in which her parents married, to come up with the digits.
She made a mistake: Instead of buying one ticket for Powerball and MegaMillions she purchased two Powerball tickets, Fike recalled.
"So I was like, 'if I win, I win twice so what are the odds' so I just went ahead and took the ticket," Fike said.
She didn't wait glued to a television watching for the announcement of the numbers as some frequent players might.
"I really didn't know they were winners," she noted.
Fike saw on a television news program that two winning Powerball tickets bought at the store remained unclaimed.
"I looked and I thought 'I want to find out if that's me,'" Fike said. "I kinda just blew it off so I never checked."
Fike went by the store as she does often and checked. Some people at the store said her tickets were worth $100,000.
"I said 'well $100,000 is more than what I had and I'm fine with that,'" Fike said. "Well then I went home and I was trying to let it sink in that I'd won and I called the retail store and they told me they were a million and I was like 'you're joking, right.'"
Fike kept the fact she won to herself, not even telling her friends or family, and noted they likely would first know through the media. She has been consulting financial experts on how to best handle her winnings and possibly invest the money.
Fike attended Clarke County High School and later received her GED. She owns a quarter horse registered as Freckles but who she likes to call Big Daddy. Fike said she enjoys outdoor activities.
OldeStone also received $20,000 and a symbolic giant check from the lottery as the store which sold the winning tickets to Fike. The lottery awards a bonus of $10,000 to a store which sells a $1 million winning ticket.
"It's really exciting and the fact that it's a regular customer so we're very happy for her," said store owner Uday Subramanian, who added that they have already sold several winning tickets with this marking a first for the $1 million Powerball prize. "Hopefully the next one should be a big jackpot and they'll stop by here for the next one."