Pick your Powerball
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on May 30, 2006 1:53 PM
Sean Sinclair plans on waking up Thursday as the country's newest millionaire -- thanks to his wife and son. Their birthdays, he said, hold the key to a Powerball win.
"My wife has always been good to me," he said. "I know her birthday is lucky. It's always a special day for us. Now it needs to do some work for us."
Sinclair and other local residents are picking their numbers and lining up in convenience stores, hoping they will become the first North Carolinian to hit the jackpot since Powerball's debut this morning.
About 5,700 retail outlets have workers trained to sell the new tickets. Players purchase a $1 slip and select five white numbers and one red Powerball digit. The correct Powerball number earns a $3 prize, and eight other combinations pay out larger awards, working up to the grand prize. Buyers can also pay an additional $1 for a Power Play to multiply winnings up to five times.
Candace Thompson walked out of the Exxon on Spence Avenue feeling unsure about her numbers.
"I'm going to take the ticket back home and pick my numbers there," she said. "Once they feel right, I'll go back and buy the ticket."
Mrs. Thompson added there is only one number she "knows" will be right so far.
"I know what the Powerball number is," she said. "I've had a feeling about it since I heard we were getting the game here."
Still, she said she's feeling more lucky than giving.
"I'm not telling anyone what I think it's going to be," she said. "Not even my husband."
After her tickets are purchased, Mrs. Thompson and other players will have to wait until Wednesday to see their hunches, feelings and dreams come to fruition.
Wednesday's drawing is scheduled for 10:59 p.m., and will be aired on television stations WRAL in Raleigh, WCNC in Charlotte and WITN in Greenville. Officials are eyeing future coverage in Wilmington, Greensboro and Asheville.
Sheila Boyd, 47, said she hasn't stayed up past 10 p.m. in close to 10 years. But now that Powerball is an N.C. norm, her schedule might change a little.
"Well, I suppose I'll have to take a nap on the day of the drawings," she said. "I don't want to be the only person in the state who doesn't know I won all that money."
Her numbers are top secret too, she said -- the day her husband came home from Iraq.
Across town, Jeremey Butler, 26, waited at a "lucky spot" for his chance to play. The last time he bought a lottery ticket at the Kangaroo on U.S. 70 East, he won $100.
"This place is just lucky," he said. "I've only bought one ticket since we got the lottery. And I won big right there inside."
Butler added he hopes the $100 he won will seem like "chump change" after tomorrow night's announcement.
Wednesday's prize is estimated to reach $38 million. The odds of taking the pot are one in 146 million.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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