23-Year Old Rancher Lassos Powerball’s $232 Million Jackpot

Neal Wanless, 23 year old South Dakota rancher who won $232.1 million dollars in the Powerball Lottery
Neal Wanless, 23 year old South Dakota rancher who won $232.1 million dollars in the Powerball Lottery: Photo is courtesy of South Dakota Lottery

The winner of the May 27 $232 million jackpot has finally come forward.

Neal Wanless, a 23-year old rancher from South Dakota, claimed the 9th largest Powerball jackpot won in the history of the multi-state lottery game.

Wanless appeared on June 5 with South Dakota Lottery officials at an award ceremony in Pierre after claiming the $232.1 million he won.

Wanless chose to receive the jackpot as a one-time cash prize of
$118,005,530. After federal tax withholding, he will receive a prize
payment $88,504,147.

That doesn’t include the $100 he won on the same ticket.

The jackpot-winning numbers, he said, represent the day and month of family members’ birthdays. The lucky combination was the fourth of five plays on a $5 ticket.

The winning ticket was purchased at the Ampride store in Winner.
Wanless and his family stop at the store when they make the 35-mile trip to Winner to buy feed.

On the night of Wednesday, May 27, Neal joked with his parents, Arlen
and Nancy, about his Powerball tickets and needing to drive to Pierre
the next day “to deposit a big check.” He didn’t discover until the
next morning that the whimsical remark would prove foretelling.

Neal checked the Lottery’s Web site for the winning numbers.

“I was in shock,” he said. “I don’t remember what I said.” His dad remembers. “He whispered real quiet ‘we won,'” Arlen said.

The rest of that day is somewhat of a blur for the family. They told a
few friends and family, and contacted the Lottery to figure out what
needed to be done next. “It’s just something you don’t believe could
happen to you,” Nancy said.

The excitement of winning affected them differently that first night.
“I slept just fine,” Neal said.

“We didn’t,” his father said, laughing. They all agree that the experience has been both fun and a bit nerve-racking.

Since then, Neal has kept busy working on the family ranch, some 11
miles east of Mission. A tractor needed to be picked up from the shop, a baler fixed, and other preparations made to put up hay in coming days.

That’s just what Neal intends to continue doing. Ranching, he says, is
something he’s always dreamed of doing. “I just want to go home and
ranch and ride horse and check cows.”

But, he says he’s also dreamed of doing it on a little bigger ranch.
While out riding his horse, Eleanor, recently he’d thought to himself,
and remarked to Eleanor, that “It’d be nice if we could go for a longer
ride than usual on a bigger ranch of our own.”

No problem. He could probably buy up a good deal of the land in South Dakota.

What an awesome story. We congratulate the entire family on this life changing event.


The June 6 Powerball game carries a $34 million jackpot.

The June 5 Mega Millions game had no jackpot winner so the June 9 game will offer up a $25 million jackpot.

The June 5 winning numbers are 5,20,38,41,52 and the Mega ball is 20. 4 tickets matched the first five numbers. They were bought in California (the ticket is worth $555,415), Maryland ($250,000), Michigan ($250,000) and Ohio ($250,000).

Big news in Europe. No one won the June 5 Euro Millions jackpot so the jackpot rolls up to a very tidy 58 million euros ($81 million, U.S.) on June 12.

The winning numbers on June 5 are 11,19,26,35,40 and the lucky stars are 2,5.

Good luck, players, wherever you are in the world.

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Married to a beautiful (and extremely intelligent--- smarter than I am) South African woman. One child (brilliant). I've written three books, only one now available. Editor in chief of magazines...former managing editor .... news reporter, magazine writer, joker, sometimes a fool, lottery expert, lover of old, classic movies, music fanatic, Science Fiction fan (Warhammer 40,000, Game of Thrones). Goal for next year: Walk the Camino de Santiago. Into metaphysics, Esther Hicks (Abraham), Louise Hay


  1. Congratulations Neal, you were 23 when you won and thats my birthday 23rd of March, take care of yourself your young and I hope you get your larger ranch. God Bless you son.


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