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National

Lottery Winner Stays Grounded After $220 Million Jackpot

Lottery winner Brad Duke says he's always been fascinated by the lottery, and even thought he won once before, when he was 18.
Davies Moore
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Lottery winner Brad Duke says he's always been fascinated by the lottery, and even thought he won once before, when he was 18.

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

In 2005, Brad Duke of Star, Idaho, hit a huge jackpot: $220 million in the Powerball lottery. It took a couple days, even a couple of weeks, for the magnitude of his win to hit. He didn't tell anyone, and went about his daily routines while he tried to figure out what he wanted to do next.

As a regular lottery player, Duke had let himself fantasize about what it might be like to win thousands of dollars someday. As a cyclist, he'd always daydreamed about owning a high-end road bike and a high-end mountain bike, which his actual windfall would certainly cover.

I took the ticket in, let the gals behind the counter run the ticket through, and the machine made a bunch of weird noises and they started jumping up and down and jumping in circles. And I was trying to actually pluck the ticket out of their hand because my first instinct was just to kind of get out of there.

But Duke didn't go on a spending spree. "I stayed in my house, I drove a used car for up to three years afterwards," he tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "The more I started to fantasize about what I could do with the money, the more I felt like I should try to keep my feet on the ground and change as little as I could."

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