Utahns line up to buy up Powerball tickets

Nov 29 2012 - 7:10am

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Powerball lottery hopefuls began lining up before 5 a.m. at the Chevron in Malad, Idaho, and continued pouring in from Utah and Idaho all day long on Wednesday. The Powerball jackpot had reached a record $579.9 million by Wednesday night. (LORETTA PARK/Standard-Examiner)
Stacy Hughes, of Layton, is among the hopefuls at the Chevron station in Malad, Idaho, buying tickets Wednesday for the Powerball, which was worth more than $579.9 million that night.  (LORETTA PARK/Standard-Examiner)
Alexandria Butte, of Woods Cross, waits with her two
children as her husband waits in line Wednesday, November 28, 2012, at a Chevron station in Malad, Idaho. They were joining many others from Utah who hoped to win the record $579.9 million Powerball jackpot. (LORETTA PARK/Standard-Examiner)
Powerball lottery hopefuls began lining up before 5 a.m. at the Chevron in Malad, Idaho, and continued pouring in from Utah and Idaho all day long on Wednesday. The Powerball jackpot had reached a record $579.9 million by Wednesday night. (LORETTA PARK/Standard-Examiner)
Stacy Hughes, of Layton, is among the hopefuls at the Chevron station in Malad, Idaho, buying tickets Wednesday for the Powerball, which was worth more than $579.9 million that night.  (LORETTA PARK/Standard-Examiner)
Alexandria Butte, of Woods Cross, waits with her two
children as her husband waits in line Wednesday, November 28, 2012, at a Chevron station in Malad, Idaho. They were joining many others from Utah who hoped to win the record $579.9 million Powerball jackpot. (LORETTA PARK/Standard-Examiner)

MALAD, Idaho -- It's not just Idahoans snapping up Powerball tickets in Malad.

Utahns packed the parking lot at the Chevron station just off Idaho State Highway 38's Exit 13 to buy a Powerball ticket in the hopes of winning a jackpot that had reached $579.9 million Wednesday night.

As soon as one parking stall emptied, it was quickly snatched by another car, most with Utah license plates. Cars, trucks and motorcycles also parked along the street to the east of the station.

Layton resident Stacy Hughes stood in a line that circled the building. Along with about 80 others, she waited for almost an hour for her turn at the counter inside.

"I'm here for the fun of it," said Hughes, who drove 85 miles one-way to buy lottery tickets. "And it's a mellow drive from Layton."

Hughes said if she did win, her plans for the money include taking care of her family and contributing to charitable organizations that help children.

Jason Gugelman, one of the employees at the Chevron station, said people were in the parking lot and lined up before the store opened at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Mild temperatures and good weather helped keep people in good spirits in the line that never seemed to shorten outside of the store.

Many of those in line were unaware that many of Malad's businesses sell lottery tickets. Thomas Food Center in downtown Malad was selling lottery tickets with a wait time of less than 15 minutes.

Mark Bond, a salesman from Farmington, said he would quit his job if he won.

He took half a day off from work to make the trek from Davis County to the Chevron station.

He said he used to regularly buy lottery tickets but now only buys them when the pot is substantial.

Alexandria Butte and her husband, John, talked about what they would do with any winnings as they drove from Woods Cross to buy lottery tickets for themselves, his boss and fellow employees.

"We'd build a nice house and set some aside so our kids could go to a good college," she Butte.

The couple also brought their two daughters, and the people in line helped entertain them while they waited.

According to an Associated Press article, Powerball tickets doubled in price in January to $2. At first, the number of tickets sold dropped, but sales revenue across the nation has increased by 35 percent compared to 2011.

There has been no Powerball winner since Oct. 6, and according to the AP article, officials said Wednesday they believe there would be a 75 percent chance of a winning combination of numbers drawn Wednesday night.

The numbers drawn Wednesday night were: 5-16-22-23-29, Powerball: 6.

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