TOPEKA – Many players make it a point to buy lottery tickets at the Kansas Lottery building during the State Fair hoping it will bring them good luck. The story of one very lucky Hoisington man who won $25,000 may keep that hope alive.
Donald Mai, 75, said he buys a couple of Holiday Millionaire Raffle tickets every year, just to make sure he’s in the game. Sales for the 2017 raffle started Sept. 8. Mai acted quickly, buying his first raffle ticket right away at a convenience store in Hutchinson.
“A few days later on Sept. 12, I was at the State Fair getting my two corn dogs and looking at farm machinery and I thought, ‘The odds are pretty good for this raffle. I’d better get another ticket.’” So he stopped by the Lottery building to make his purchase. It was the 4,717th raffle ticket printed, which made it Raffle Number 004717.
As the weeks went by, Mai said he would check his ticket occasionally to see if he had won one of the 12 Holiday Bonus drawings. He had not.
Mai’s wife was in charge of checking the numbers after the January third Grand Prize drawing.
“I looked in the Hutchinson paper to see what numbers had won the big prizes,” said Althea Mai. “Don came in the house as I was doing that and I told him he’d better come look at the paper because I thought we had won!”
It was true. Number 004717 was one of five numbers that won $25,000 in the Holiday Millionaire Raffle. After calling the Lottery to make sure, the Mais were on their way to Topeka.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun when our friends find out,” said Don.
“It’s just wonderful to win,” added Althea.
Don is a retired farmer. Althea is a retired elementary school teacher. They have been married 47 years and have two grown children and three grandchildren. They weren’t sure exactly what they were going to do with the prize money, but said they would spend it on their family.
As the big winners walked out of the Kansas Lottery office today, a very happy Don looked back at Lottery officials and said, “See you at the Fair next year.”