DES MOINES - Tom and Norma Christeson, Webster City, have joined an elite club. They are the newest members of Webster City's millionaire's club. The Christesons claimed a $1 million Powerball prize Tuesday at Iowa Lottery headquarters.
Tom Christeson said he purchased the ticket while out to dinner in Urbandale.
"I just bought it," Tom Christeson said as he claimed his big prize. But did he ever really think he'd win big? "Never!" he said with a laugh.
Tom and Norma Christeson, Webster City, claimed their $1 million prize from Saturday’s Powerball drawing at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Des Moines on Tuesday.
Christeson, 70, and his wife, Norma, had decided to spend the weekend visiting their daughters and their families, but planned to head back home on Sunday. Their visit got extended after they realized their good fortune.
Christeson said he checked his winning ticket while his daughters were shopping on Sunday, and although he was fairly calm about the big news, he was worried about Norma.
"I thought my wife maybe was going to fall into a pile, but other than that, everything was fine," he said, smiling as he remembered.
Christeson, who drives a grain truck at Heartland Co-op in Randall, said he already had been planning to retire in January, and he will stick with those plans, as the co-op's busy season is approaching with the fall corn harvest.
Christeson has more room in mind for his winnings: with four children and nine grandchildren, he said an expansion of their family home is in order.
"We'll be building onto the house, improving the house to add a room," he said. "That's all I know for sure."
Norma Christeson, his wife of nearly 47 years, wiped away tears as Christeson was presented with the check for his prize winnings.
"It just doesn't seem real," she said. "You know, we've worked hard all our life, and it just doesn't seem real. I think it's finally hit me. I think I felt like I've been in a dream all weekend."
Christeson is the third big winner in two years for Webster City. Larry Dawson won a $9.09 million jackpot in the Hot Lotto game in May 2011 while Aenoi Phetxoumphone of Webster City won a $1 million prize in the "Lifetime Riches" instant-scratch game in February 2011.
Christeson bought his winning ticket at Hy-Vee, 8701 Douglas Ave. in Urbandale, and came close to winning it all in Saturday's $80 million jackpot drawing, matching the first five numbers but missing the Powerball. Saturday's winning numbers were: 8-11-21-44-49 and Powerball 22.
"It is so exciting to see all these big prizes being won in our state," Lottery CEO Terry Rich said. "Call it a run of luck, the stars aligning, a winning streak whatever the name, we like it."
No one won the jackpot in Saturday's drawing, so Powerball's top prize climbs to an estimated $90 million for Wednesday.