CLIVE, Iowa — Angelica Chavez played Mega Millions for the first time Friday.
Call it beginner's luck, but three days later, the Sioux City woman walked away with $1 million in winnings from the lottery game.
“I told my dad the night before, 'I’m going to win something big,’” Angelica Chavez said as she claimed her prize Monday afternoon at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive. "And he said, 'Just go for it!'"
Chavez, 27, said she chose her own numbers, playing those that she had written down a few years ago. At the time, she worked at a senior-living center and there was a little game there with balls in it like a lottery drawing machine. So she played the game and picked multiple sets of six numbers, which she wrote down and kept all this time in her purse.
“And I said one day I was going to play them and that day was on Friday,” she said.
Chavez stopped by Fleet Farm Fuel, 5860 Sunnybrook Drive, to buy her winning ticket. An employee at the Tyson Foods beef plant in Dakota City, Chavez worked until late Friday night, and when she got home, she checked that night’s winning Mega Millions numbers on her phone. She matched the first five numbers but missed the Mega Ball to win a $1 million prize.
Some big jackpot winners are in disbelief at first, but not Chavez.
“I had already felt that I was going to win,” she said. “I put 15 instead of 25, or I would have won the whole jackpot!”
Chavez has investment ideas for her winnings, and wants to put money aside for her daughter’s future.
“I have a couple plans,” she said. “I kind of want to buy some properties and put them for rent so the money can keep running, not just stay stuck in the bank.”
Players in $2 Mega Millions choose their first five numbers from a pool of 70, and another number - called the Mega Ball - from a separate pool of 25. The Megaplier option is available for an extra $1 per play. The game’s jackpot starts at $40 million and grows by at least $5 million with each drawing until it is won.
The winning numbers in Friday’s $175 million Mega Millions drawing were: 18-25-43-44-57 and the Mega Ball was 25. The Megaplier number was 4. Chavez’s ticket was the only one in the country to win a $1 million prize that night. It’s the third prize of at least $1 million won in Iowa so far this year.
Fleet Farm will receive a $1,000 bonus from the Iowa Lottery for selling the winning ticket at one of its stores.