$80 Million Michigan Powerball Winner Claims Prize

Thursday October 24th 2019

Michigan man Philip Chippewa has come forward to claim his $80 million Powerball jackpot prize.

The 54-year-old father of seven and grandfather of 21 matched all six numbers in the September 21 drawing: main numbers 1, 9, 22, 36, 68 and Powerball 22.

Chippewa chose to receive his winnings as a single $55.3 million lump-sum payment, which will be approximately $42 million after taxes. The other option jackpot winners have is to receive the full advertised prize as an annuity paid over decades.

He purchased his ticket at the Barrels and Barrels Party Store at 1375 SW Bayshore Drive in Suttons Bay in northern Michigan.

But he revealed that his incredible win almost didn't happen.

“Any time I see the jackpot getting up there I buy a few tickets and hope for the best,” Chippewa said. “I stopped at Barrels and Barrels the day of the drawing and almost walked out without buying the tickets, but at the last minute, I decided to get four plays.”

Talk about a great spur-of-the-moment decision!

Chippewa and his wife, Dawn, weren't aware that the jackpot-winning ticket was sold in Suttons Bay, where they live, until Dawn's sister contacted them.

"I was at work and my sister sent me a text saying that someone who played at Barrels and Barrels won the Powerball jackpot," Dawn said.

"My first thought was: 'He better have bought some tickets!'

“After I got home, we were doing our usual Sunday night routine when my sister sent another text to ask if we’d checked Phillip’s tickets," she continued. "Until then I had forgotten all about the news of a big winner.”

Mr. Chippewa revealed his wife and son didn't believe him at first when he discovered he'd won.

“After I bought the tickets, I had put them away in my truck,” he explained. “I ran out to take a look at them and I didn’t have to look past the first line to see I was the winner. Of course, my wife and son thought I was playing a trick, so my son pulled the numbers up on his phone and read them out loud while Dawn and I looked at the ticket together. By the time he was done, we both had tears in our eyes.”

To make absolutely sure they really were the jackpot winners, the Chippewas visited the Barrels and Barrels store to have the ticket scanned.

"As soon as we walked in the clerk asked: ‘Are you guys the big winners?’" Chippewa recalled. “I handed him the ticket and said: ‘We’re about to find out.’ When the terminal printed a receipt saying to contact the Lottery, we knew our lives had changed.”

The Chippewas held a family meeting at their home, where they revealed the big news to their seven children.

"There were a lot of emotions in that room because we've always put our family first and it hasn't always been easy, but all of them were so happy for us," Chippewa recalled.

“With seven children and 21 grandchildren, I’ve always said that I might not have the most money, but I am rich with family. Now, I have all the money I’ll ever need and can help my family for generations. That means everything to me.”

Chippewa, who is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, plans to purchase a house for himself and each of his children. He's also got his eye on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a white Dodge Challenger.

“Winning is life-changing, but it’s not going to change who we are,” he confirmed. “My wife and I have been together for 25 years, we’ve always helped others and we’re both still working.

“Every day when I come to work my boss asks me: ‘Why are you here?’ I just tell him that I was hired to do a job and I’m not going to abandon anyone just because I won. We’ll both retire in time, but we believe in being good to the community that has been so good to us.”

This is the fourth Powerball jackpot won in Michigan since the game started in the state in 2010. Three Rivers resident Julie Leach won $310.5 million in 2015, and Lapeer resident Donald Lawson won $337 million in 2012 - Michigan's biggest-ever lottery prize.

Powerball drawings take place on Wednesday and Saturday nights in Florida at 10:59 pm ET.

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