Countdown to the First Powerball Millionaire of the Year

Sunday December 29th 2019

One lucky player will start 2020 as the First Powerball Millionaire of the Year! The $1,000,000 winner will be announced live on TV just after the ball drops at midnight in Times Square.

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More than 300 players from across the country won a luxury trip to New York. On Sunday, five finalists were chosen in a drawing at the Edison Ballroom in the Theatre District. One of these finalists will be randomly selected to win the $1 million prize:

  • Blaine Marston, Maine
  • Cathie Ritchie, Idaho
  • Rigoberto Hernandez Solorzano, Tennessee
  • Cecil Royce, New Mexico
  • Kai Nichols, New York

The First Powerball Millionaire of the Year is a collaboration between Powerball and Dick Clark Productions. The winner will be revealed live during the broadcast of "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020" on ABC.

"This new partnership brings together Powerball, a premier brand in the lottery industry, with New Year's Rockin' Eve, a powerhouse entertainment brand," said Powerball Product Group Chairman and New Mexico Lottery CEO David Barden. "As we showcase Powerball on a new national stage, we are continuing Powerball's 27-year legacy of creating millionaires while raising funds for good causes supported by lotteries."

The competition started in May and ran through October, and the qualifying second-chance draws were held soon afterwards. Over 300 players won a VIP trip to New York, along with the chance to become a millionaire at midnight.

The following 25 lotteries participated in the competition: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

One of the winners is Brooklyn widow Marie Lusardi, who said, "I was in shock. I never win anything!" When Lusardi, who estimates she's spent $100,000 on the lottery over 50 years, got a phone call telling her she could become 2020's newest millionaire, "I thought it was a joke. I hung up on the person."

In fact, Lusardi actually won because she lost - her niece entered one of her losing Powerball tickets into the second-chance drawing. Now Lusardi will be whisked off to NYC in a limo to ring in the New Year in style - and she's taking her niece as her guest, of course.

Each winner and a guest are enjoying a VIP experience in the Big Apple. Round-trip travel is included, and the group will stay in Times Square for three nights, from December 29 to January 1. They attended a welcome reception at the Edison Ballroom and will see a performance by the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and take a holiday river cruise on the Hudson, among other treats.

On New Year's Eve, the group will attend a special gala at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, featuring great views of the ball drop in Times Square at midnight. Soon afterwards, one of the five finalists will be randomly selected to receive the $1,000,000 prize, and country music artist Jessie James Decker will announce the winner live on air from the party. The new millionaire will receive the prize as a single lump sum payment, without an annuity option.

"New Year's Eve has always brought about the opportunity for a fresh start," said Kevin Patrick Smith, Senior Vice President of Business Development and Partnerships at Dick Clark Productions. "By partnering with Powerball and announcing the first millionare of the year in the first minutes of 2020 live on air, we are able to change someone's life while introducing an exciting new moment in the show."

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