A Dearborn, Mo., man has won a share of Wednesday’s record Powerball jackpot.
Mark Hill, 52, confirmed via Facebook Thursday that he had purchased one of two winning tickets for the $587.5 million prize at Trex Mart, east of Interstate 29 on State Route Z near Dearborn.
“We are truly blessed ... we were lucky winners of the powerball!” Mr. Hill posted.
The Missouri Lottery has yet to confirm the winner.
With another winning ticket sold in Arizona, Mr. Hill’s share would be $293.7 million — the largest prize ever won in Missouri. Mr. Hill can choose whether he wants to receive his share as an annuity of 30 payments over the course of 29 years, or if he would prefer a lump-sum payment worth $192.3 million before taxes.
Trex Mart employees struggled not to reveal Mr. Hill’s identity to more than a dozen media members who crowded the convenience store before Missouri Lottery officials had confirmed the winner.
Mr. Hill’s name initially surfaced around 10:30 a.m. when employees discussed a rumor in front of the News-Press while television reporters shot video outside. Around noon, the store received a phone call that led to broad smiles and whispers between employees before they quickly retreated to a small back room.
Once they returned, they told the media they believed the winner was a local man but could not reveal his identity. When the News-Press handed an employee a piece of paper behind the counter with Mr. Hill’s name written on it, the employee again broke into a large smile and nodded.
“I can’t officially tell you it’s him, but he’s headed to the lottery office in Independence right now to confirm it,” they said.
Friends said Mr. Hill was at one point employed at the Hillshire Brands plant in St. Joseph, although it was unclear if he still worked there. A Hillshire official in St. Joseph declined to comment.
Baron Hartell, son of Trex Mart owner Lowell Hartell and a graduate of North Platte High School, joked about the significance of the event as only a local could.
“You know, I can’t think of any reason why Dearborn should have ever been put on the map,” Mr. Hartell said. “We’re a small high school and we’ve won state before, but other than that, there’s nothing that’s really ever happened in this town.”
Employees had a variety of ideas for how the store could spend the $50,000 bonus it receives for selling a jackpot winning ticket. Some wanted to build a beer cave, while others wanted Christmas bonuses, a Christmas party or to pay down some existing loans at the store.
Store manager Chris Naurez said he looked forward to reviewing surveillance tape to see who sold the winning ticket once they determined what day it was sold.
“It’s kind of crazy to think I might have handed over that much money in one transaction,” Mr. Naurez said.
Kristi Williams, one of the store’s cashiers, said she didn’t blame the winner for not immediately coming forward while Trex Mart was packed with media members and curious locals.
“I hope they don’t get hounded,” Ms. Williams said. “A lot of people that live in town are related to other people that live here, so everyone will be asking for money.”
Wednesday’s winner was the 27th Powerball jackpot for Missouri. Only the state of Indiana has had more winners. Gary Gonder, chief operation officer for the Missouri Lottery, said receiving the late-night phone call that his state has a winner never gets old.
“You can imagine I don’t get much sleep after that because I’m thinking someone out there is having a really good time,” Mr. Gonder said.
The winning numbers were 5, 16, 22, 23 and 29 with a Powerball of 6.