Residents test long Powerball odds

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— The chance of winning hundreds of millions of dollars in tonight's Powerball drawing is one in 80 million, but many people in Steamboat Springs think those odds are good enough to lay their money down for tickets.

By 2 p.m. Friday, 7-11 store clerk Jake Goodwin said the store had sold $648 worth of Powerball tickets. Lotto was far behind at $101.

"One guy this morning bought $100 worth of tickets," Goodwin said.

Colorado Lottery officials expect more than 4 million tickets will be sold statewide before tonight's 8:59 p.m. drawing. More than 80 million are expected to be sold in the 22 Powerball states, lottery spokesman Todd Greco said.

While the odds of winning may be long, the odds that at least one person will have the winning ticket aren't, Greco said.

"I guarantee that someone will win the prize," he said.

A jackpot winner hasn't been chosen since Colorado bought into Powerball on Aug. 2. However, two Coloradans received $500,000 prizes and six took home $100,000 prizes.

The estimated $280 million jackpot is the second largest ever, behind a 1998 $295 million mark. If someone holds the lucky ticket, it will end a 10 week drought of jackpot winners.

Some people buying tickets in town Friday had an idea what they would do with the money.

"Right off the bat, we decided that we would donate 25 percent to charity," Toponas resident Dema Greenfield said after purchasing a ticket.

She said much of the rest of the jackpot would probably be filtered to Greenfield and her husband's six children and nine grandchildren.

Southern California resident Margie Theulmayer was visiting her son, who recently moved to the Steamboat area, when she bought her family a ticket.

"Our (other) son in California said to buy a Powerball ticket while we are here so we all can move out to Colorado," she said.

Local Steve Holmberg said if the ticket he bought Friday afternoon was worth $280 million, he wouldn't know what to do.

"I haven't really thought about it. I'd probably do some traveling," he said.

Debbra Veenstra, of Craig, bought a ticket in Steamboat Friday, too. She said if she wins, she'll pay off her children's college and then take off.

"I probably would have to travel," she said. "I think I'd go to Amsterdam."

To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or E-mail dcrowl@steamboatpilot.com

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