ALBUQUERQUE – Larry and Cynthia Martinez of Blanco, New Mexico claimed the nation’s first $1 million prize in the new Powerball game launched Sunday.
The Martinez’ ticket for the game’s Jan. 18 drawing matched the white ball numbers of 6, 29, 34, 44 and 50 to win a second-place prize of $1 million. Previously, the prize for matching five white balls was $200,000.
Above: pictured Larry and Cynthia Martinez, winners of the Powerball game
Larry Martinez selected his numbers, a combination of the month and year he was born and digits from an old workplace identification badge. They discovered their good fortune yesterday evening while watching the news.
“I was making supper and I said, ‘Larry, you need to pay attention. They’re calling out numbers,’” Cynthia Martinez recalled.
Larry Martinez, who was dozing, sat up from his recliner and immediately recognized his numbers. He retrieved his ticket from the visor of his truck and then verified the numbers on his ticket with the numbers posted on the lottery’s website.
“I kind of freaked out,” Larry Martinez said. “I wondered ‘How did I win $1 million?’”
“We promised more winners and bigger prizes in the new Powerball game and we delivered on the very first drawing,” said New Mexico Lottery CEO Tom Romero. “We’re thrilled that the New Mexico Lottery sold the new game’s very first $1 million prize.”
As newly minted millionaires, the couple plans to make investments and share the prize with their three sons and grandson.
Larry Martinez bought his lucky ticket at the 7-2-11 Store No 42 located at 5697 US Highway 64 in Farmington. Previously, the store has sold 19 large prize-winning lottery tickets ranging between $700 and $5,000. For selling the $1 million-winning ticket, the store is eligible for a lottery bonus of $2,500.
Legislative Lottery Scholarships
The sale of New Mexico Lottery games funds a college tuition-assistance program. Since its inception in April 1996, the lottery has raised $503 million for education and more than 75,300 students have attended college on Legislative Lottery Scholarships. Information about Legislative Lottery Scholarships is available at www.nmlottery.com.