Resident Of Tiny Colorado Town Wins Big In Second Chance Lottery Drawing

Written By Darren Cooper on 03/23/2023
resident from colorado town wins bigs

Give it up, Joanie. Everyone, and we mean everyone, in Cowdrey knows you won big in the Colorado Lottery.

Joanie L. recently won $250,000 in the 100X The Cash Bonus Draw from a losing scratch ticket. She hid her face in the photo taken at the Lottery office when she claimed her prize. But she joked that everyone in the tiny Colorado town would know she won.

Cowdrey Has Just a Couple Dozen Residents and Lots of Alpacas

The Colorado Lottery enjoyed record sales in fiscal year 2022, surpassing $820 million. Sales of scratch tickets contributed nearly three-quarters of that amount.

Cowdrey, a town in north-central Colorado near the Wyoming border, has anywhere from 23 to 27 people living in it, depending on the season. It sits 10 miles north of Walden, a city of 600 residents. Its elevation is 7,917, it has its own post office and ZIP code, and it’s known for raising alpacas.

And now, it’s a town with a quarter-of-a-million-dollar Lottery winner.

At first, Joanie Thought Her Win Was a Scam

Joanie L. (Colorado Lottery rules allow big winners to remain anonymous) told Colorado Lottery officials that when she received the notification via certified mail that she’d won, she believed it was a scam.

She did not totally believe she had won until she made the two-and-a-half-hour trip to Fort Collins and was handed the ceremonially big check with her name on it.

Joanie has played Colorado Lottery games for years but has never won more than $500. She works for the local court system in Walden.

She said she plans to start a trust fund with the money and perhaps buy more alpacas, which resemble llamas but are smaller.

Second Chance Leads to Riches

Not many people who play the Colorado Lottery realize that their scratch-off tickets come with a second chance at a big prize if they don’t win, Lottery officials said.

“People are not aware until we show up to their door with a big check or contact them by phone, email or certified mail.”

That was how Joanie won her prize and where her initial confusion came in. She sent in a non-winning ticket to be entered in a second-chance drawing, not really expecting anything to come from it.

Had Lottery officials gone to Cowdrey to tell Joanie she had won, it probably wouldn’t have taken them long to find her. In a town that small, everyone knows each other. Especially big Lottery winners.

Photo by Shutterstock
Darren Cooper Avatar
Written by
Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He's won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

View all posts by Darren Cooper