Powerball mania grips Aspen
November 28, 2012
ASPEN – Aspenites, like many Americans, went on a ticket-buying spree Wednesday, taking a chance on the long odds of winning a Powerball jackpot that rose to $550 million. Only the true non-believers dared skip the office lottery pool.
Wednesday night’s drawing, with the second-biggest payout in U.S. history on the line, is guaranteed to have the ever-hopeful on the edge of their seats. The more complacent among us will check our tickets for a winning combination Thursday morning.
Tickets were selling at a rate of 130,000 a minute nationwide Wednesday, which means the jackpot could climb even higher by the evening cutoff, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association.
The line of ticket buyers at The Aspen Store had two clerks hopping Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s been crazy busy since 7 o’clock this morning,” said cashier Karla Mendoza. “I can’t wait until somebody wins the Powerball.”
At Clark’s Market in Aspen, where a local resident bought a $250,000 Mega Millions winner last month, lottery players were hoping for an extra bit of luck.
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“This is the hot place,” one local man declared.
“Everybody is so excited. It’s kind of fun. The whole town is excited,” said Debbie Lester, customer service manager.
Someone, she confirmed, purchased $800 worth of Powerball tickets at Clark’s Wednesday. Whether it was an office pool or a purchase by a determined individual, she couldn’t say.
“That is not typical,” Lester added.
Eliana Davila of Aspen said she usually buys one ticket a week, but she upped her purchase to five sets of numbers Wednesday.
“Today is special,” she said.
Juan Cavanna, an Argentinean who now resides in Aspen year-round, said he was buying lottery tickets for the first time ever.
“Let’s see if I have the first-time luck,” he said, grinning.
“You can’t win it if you’re not in it,” lottery regular Billy Williams exclaimed.
Powerball officials said they believe there’s a 75 percent chance that a winning combination will be drawn Wednesday.
The largest payout of all time, by the way, occurred in March, when three Mega Millions ticket buyers shared a $656 million jackpot.