Traverse City Record-Eagle

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May 18, 2013

Powerball ticket buyers hopeful as jackpot swells

TRAVERSE CITY — Garrick Opie hasn’t purchased a Powerball ticket in more than a decade.

But a jackpot that swelled to $600 million -- the world’s second largest lottery prize -- by Friday afternoon convinced Opie to throw in $20 toward the $2 tickets at the 7-Eleven store on 14th Street.

“I mean, just take a stab at it. You never know,” he said before walking off with a Slurpee and a pack of almonds.

Multi-millionaire hopefuls can buy tickets until today at 9 p.m. The five winning numbers will be announced at 10:59 p.m. Odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 175,223,510, according to the Powerball website.

7-Eleven franchisee Kim Gough saw a steady stream of customers Friday and expected the convenience store to “get pretty wild” in the evening with people buying tickets after school and work. One person handed over $80, she said.

Customers on Thursday spent more than $1,200 on all lottery tickets, including scratch-offs, Gough said.

“You gotta dream,” she said.

That’s exactly what Marc Ryan did after he bought a ticket from the Speedway on 14th Street. It’s hard to wrap his head around a half-billion dollars, and he wondered what he’d do with it after getting by check-to-check and scrambling for side jobs.

“I would help all the churches that help the poor,” Ryan said. “Just getting that Social Security check every month, that’s like a bonanza for me. But it’s gone right away.”

Opie said he’d distribute the money among family and friends after paying off loans. He’d donate to the school system in Suttons Bay, where he lives.

“I just want to help others,” he said.

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