Hoosier Lottery Celebrates $1 Million Win in Portage

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized


Published on September 16, 2010 with No Comments

Lottery officials traveled to Portage to celebrate a local resident’s recent million dollar win. Friends, family, co-workers and the regular lunch crowd looked on as the Lottery recognized Larry Wright and the Red Carpet Lounge at a formal check presentation at the local U.S. Highway 20 lunch spot and watering hole where Wright purchased his winning ticket last week.
“I’m so happy because I always believed in the Lottery. I always wanted to either be a winner or sell a winner,” Red Carpet owner Shelia Raye said.
The Red Carpet Lounge, a mom and pop restaurant and bar located at 6481 Melton Road in Portage was one of the first retailers on board when the Hoosier Lottery began in 1989.
Bartender and cook Karen Lange, who sold Wright the winning ticket laughed and joked as she recounted the story of Wright’s ticket purchase – and how he almost did not buy it.
It all started with some tacos and pull-tabs over lunch Aug. 19. But as Lange recounts, it was her eagle-eyes that ultimately led to his win when she discovered a $100 winner in a stack of pull-tabs Wright intended for the trash. She brought the win to his attention and paid him his winnings. Wright then used his pull-tab winnings to purchase the Hoosier Lottery ticket that turned out to be a $1 million winner.
“I don’t usually play $10 games, but since I had won some money I got a few of the $10 ones,” Wright said.
The first ticket Wright scratched off was a $1 million winner, and Lange said he was shaking so bad she thought he was going to have a heart attack.
After matching the numbers to reveal the big win, Wright said he needed other eyes to check it out.
“I handed it to the bartender and said, ‘Is this right?’ She goes, ‘Holy cow!’” he recalled. “I dang near fell off my stool.”
As his win begins to sink in, Wright said the biggest change in his life after winning $1 million in the Hoosier Lottery’s $80 Million Cash Spectacular scratch-off will be cutting his time till retirement in half. Wright will receive his winnings over the next 29 years. He received his first installment of $43,000 earlier this week.
“I was planning on retiring in about four years, but now I’m looking at more like two,” the Portage resident said. “My boss is worried I’m leaving, but I’ve got a couple more years left.”
Wright works at U.S. Steel in Portage. His fellow workers at the plant may be anxiously awaiting his retirement. As Wright tells it, the production unit for which he is responsible is cranking out more than steel.
“I’m the third person off that unit to win big money in the Hoosier Lottery. One guy won $5 million, another $1 million,” he said.
Wright is the second lucky player to win a $1 million pre-tax payday on the $80 Million Cash Spectacular game. Six top prizes are unclaimed at this time.
The Hoosier Lottery reminds players to always play responsibly, and to always sign the back of their tickets.

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