Shiprock Man Wins $50,000 New Mexico Lottery Prize


ALBUQUERQUE – We’ve all done it — finished our Christmas shopping early and then kept some of the gifts for ourselves. In the case of Shiprock resident Emerson Charley, one of those gifts turned out to be a $50,000 windfall.

Charley won a top prize playing the New Mexico Lottery’s $5 “Jackpot Party”Scratcher™. The very lucky ticket was one of four he bought in early December.

Emerson Charley

Above: Emerson Charley, winner of $50,000 “Jackpot Party”Scratcher™ prize

“The tickets were just lying on my desk and I kept asking myself, ‘Should I give them as gifts or play them?’” he recalled for lottery officials in Albuquerque yesterday.

Two days before Christmas, he decided to play one ticket. After revealing a $30 prize, he played another one.

“It showed all those zeroes,” Charley said.

Charley drove to a nearby store, where the staff confirmed it as a big winner.

“I was yelling ‘Yeah’ in the store,” he said. “Everyone was looking at me.”

Charley, who has seven children and four grandchildren, said he plans to share the $50,000 prize with his family, which has experienced lottery good fortune before. Two of Charley’s children have received Legislative Lottery Scholarships to attend college, where they earned their associate’s degrees. Both are still in college pursuing bachelor’s degrees.

Charley bought his lucky ticket Giant Thriftway located at 3215 Highway 64 in Waterflow. The store has sold seven other large prize-winning lottery tickets paying between $1,000 and $25,000.

Legislative Lottery Scholarships

Since its inception in 1996, the New Mexico Lottery has raised $629 million for education and more than 97,000 students have attended college on Legislative Lottery Scholarships. As of the spring 2014 semester, more than 4,600 students from San Juan County have received $18.8 million in Legislative Lottery Scholarships.

More information about Legislative Lottery Scholarships is available at

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