Calif. Mega Millions Winner Collects $180 Million

Sep 04, 14 Calif. Mega Millions Winner Collects $180 Million

Sept. 4, 2014 – California’s newest Mega Millions jackpot winner said he felt lucky leading up to the Aug. 22 drawing that changed his life forever.

53-year-old Rick Knudsen won an estimated $180 million that night, and he has his superstitions to thank.  According to Knudsen, the days leading up to the big Mega Millions drawing were full of strange coincidences.

On Aug. 21, he said he made five different purchases, and there was absolutely no change involved in any of the transactions – each purchase came out to an even dollar amount.

After five even-dollar purchases, Knudsen felt compelled to buy some lottery tickets.  He called himself a “numbers freak,” telling California Lottery officials and members of the media at a press conference Wednesday that, after his five even purchases, “[That all meant] something in my head.  So I said, ‘I gotta stop somewhere and buy a [lottery] ticket.’  So on my way home, I bought the Quick Picks for $10.”

Knudsen picked up his winning ticket at the 7-Eleven store located at 301 County Line Road in Calimesa, Calif.

The big winner said his strange luck continued through the next day: his first purchase the day of the drawing required no change, and later that evening, in Indio, Calif., another cashier rung him up for $24 exactly.

“The clerk… said I should buy a lottery ticket and I said, ‘I already did!'” Knudsen said.

Seven transactions over the course of two days, in two different cities.  Anyone superstitious would be looking for a sign of their luck, and later that night, Knudsen certainly saw his superstitions confirmed – but not on the Mega Millions drawing.

Not yet, at least.  Knudsen said during his press conference yesterday that before he had checked his ticket – which had already matched the six winning numbers to win $180 million – he met his children at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio.

There, Knudsen placed bets on seven different machines, and won on every single one of them.  Talk about lucky.

It wasn’t until the next morning that Knudsen checked his ticket.  His sister called to tell him that someone from Calimesa had won the jackpot, asking if he’d bought any tickets.

“I looked up the numbers and said ‘Oh my God.’  I looked at the numbers three different times and I just about fainted,” he said.

Knudsen had matched the winning numbers – 5, 31, 34, 41, 74 and the Mega Ball 3 – on the very first line of his Quick Pick.

The lucky winner chose the cash option for his prize, worth $107 million before taxes, and said at his press conference that since the win, he’s retired from his 35-year-long career as a roofer, calling the sudden end of his work “bittersweet.”

Now with millions in the bank, Knudsen said he didn’t have specific plans.  He’ll help his church, perhaps buying a new roof; he’ll help his children out, and he’ll just enjoy life.


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Written by Matt Isaacs

Matt is the Editorial Manager for the LotteryHUB News Team. Matt graduated from Rutgers University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies in May 2013



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