By Connie Leinbach
Ocracoke Islander Valerie Mason was one of three North Carolinians who won $10,000 in the Aug. 8 Powerball drawing. It was her biggest win in the years that she has been playing the game. She was happy for the win, she said, noting that didn’t watch the drawing that night but learned of her winning ticket while in the Hatteras ferry line the next day.
“I was taking my mom to an appointment and said I should check my ticket numbers,” she relates. “ ‘Oh my God, Mom,’ I said,” she continued about learning she had four of the winning numbers plus the Powerball. “ ‘I don’t know what it is.’ ”
But then she quickly looked it up on line and saw that she had won $10,000. While she was elated, she didn’t even call her husband, Kenny about it right away.
“If I would have won the $448 million, you would have heard me at the south ferry docks,” she said with a laugh.
While Mason purchased her ticket at the Beachcomber Camp Ground Gas Station, she said she usually only plays the scratch-off games. When the Powerball jackpot gets big, she purchases those tickets, too. This time, she purchased the 10 for $20 option and had the machine pick the numbers.
“It’s pretty cool that someone here won something big,” said Sean Death, manager of the campground and gas station, who said Mason had called to relate the good news. “It was the buzz around the counter for a few days.”
He said he hasn’t noticed an uptick in lottery ticket sales, though.
“People say, ‘It’s only $30,000’ when it’s the lower numbers,” he said, “but they seem to come out of the woodwork when the jackpot gets to $300 million and higher.”
Mason, who owns Village Print, the island print shop, said the prize winnings have already been designated to pay for new equipment for her business.
As for the odds, Mason said that four tickets sold in North Carolina beat odds of one-to-648,976 to match four white balls and the red Powerball to win big prizes. A $3 Power Play ticket worth $40,000 was sold in Davie County and other two tickets worth $10,000 each were sold in Greensboro and Charlotte.
Mason said that after taxes were taken out by the various states who do the Powerball, her actual take-home amount was around $5,900. Nevertheless, she is happy to represent Coastal North Carolina with her win.
“You don’t see many people on the coast winning these things,” she said. “It just seems seems like it’s good karma.”