ALBUQUERQUE – For Justin Montoya and his mother, Rosemarie Montoya, winning a New Mexico Lottery prize was a scream.
The Las Vegas residents won $50,000 playing a $5 “Diamond Mine 9X” Scratcher that they bought after stopping for gas. Justin Montoya, who paid for the ticket, let his mother play the game while he drove. When his mother revealed the five-figure prize, he said she erupted.
“It was frantic screaming,” Justin Montoya recalled for lottery officials in Albuquerque Monday.
Above: Justin Montoya, winner of $50,000 “Diamond Mine 9X” Scratcher
“I just freaked out,” Rosemarie Montoya added.
Justin Montoya said they kept staring at the ticket in disbelief.
“We were thinking that it was just too good to be true,” he said.
The winners said they plan to use their prize to pay bills and take a family vacation to Disney World.
The unexpected cash windfall is Justin Montoya’s second experience with lottery good fortune. Like his three siblings Justin Montoya attended college on a Legislative Lottery Scholarship. He graduated from New Mexico Highlands University with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and recently earned a master’s degree. He wants to become a professional sports trainer.
Rosemarie Montoya said her family wants to pass the opportunity of education onto others.
“I always encourage people to buy lottery tickets – always, always – so that other families’ children can have the opportunity our children had,” she said.
The Montoyas’ lucky ticket came from Main Street Station located at 102 S. Grand Ave. in Las Vegas. A lottery retailer since 1996, Main Street Station has sold 21 other large prize-winning lottery tickets ranging between $1,000 and $50,000.
Legislative Lottery College Scholarships
Since 1996, the New Mexico Lottery has raised $539 million for education and more than 75,300 students have attended college on Legislative Lottery Scholarships. In the past 16 years, more than 1,270 students from San Miguel County have attended college on $5.7 million in Legislative Lottery Scholarships.
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