DES MOINES – The first of 13 top prizes of $10,000 available in the Iowa Lottery’s new “Merry Bucks” holiday instant-scratch game was claimed by a northern Iowa woman.
Tammy Walrod of Hampton said she purchased her winning ticket Nov. 7 at Murphy USA, 4059 Fourth St. SW in Mason City and scratched it off the same day. She said she couldn’t believe that she won the game’s top prize and kept second-guessing herself.
“All weekend I kept touching it, ‘Did I win? Did I win? This is a fantasy,’” Walrod told lottery employees Monday as she claimed her prize at the lottery’s regional office in Mason City. “I still want to pinch myself because I don’t feel like I deserve it, but I know I do.”
The 42-year-old single mother said she had played the Merry Bucks game before and liked it.
“I just was like, ‘Oh, I want to do this ticket again and I’m going to make sure I win something.’ I was thinking like $40 or $50, maybe $100 and then that’s when I was like, ‘Holy cow!’” Walrod said.
Walrod said her lottery winnings will be used to pay bills and buy holiday gifts for her two children, ages 17 and 10.
Merry Bucks is a $2 scratch game. Players reveal game symbols to win prizes. If they reveal the “TREE” symbol, they win the prize shown for that symbol. If they reveal the “STAR” symbol, they win double the prize shown for that symbol. The overall odds of winning a prize in the game are 1 in 3.82.
Eleven top prizes of $10,000 are still up for grabs in Merry Bucks, as well as 104 prizes of $500 and 833 prizes of $100.