“I have always wanted a reason to come here,” is something we at the Minnesota Lottery have heard countless times from people as they claim a big prize. It has been fun for us to share in the excitement as one-after-another Minnesotans have started the new year as “hundred-thousand-aires” or even millionaires.

Here are some of their stories:

Charles Wylie of Elko New Market was the first $1 million Minnesota Lottery winner of 2020! This year was only the third year that he purchased Minnesota Millionaire Raffle tickets. "I had two strikes and this year it was a home run!" he said. "2020 is going to be good," he said with a smile. Shell, located at 14301 Nicollet Court in Burnsville, sold Wylie's winning ticket.

John Zgutowicz of Wyoming won $100,000 by playing Minnesota Millionaire Raffle. Zgutowicz said he and his wife, Rindy, are looking forward to taking their three daughters on their first ever family vacation. When asked where they want to go, Zgutowicz replied, “Someplace hot!”  Go For It Gas, located at 3255 Viking Blvd. N.E. in East Bethel sold Zgutowicz’s winning ticket.

“I’m still on cloud nine,” said Tawn Mains of Ogilvie as she claimed a $100,000 Minnesota Millionaire Raffle prize at the Lottery’s Roseville office. “This is awesome.” Mains, who works at Tower Bar & Lounge in Ogilvie, said that the news that Tower Bar & Lounge sold a $100,000 winning Raffle ticket caused quite a bit of excitement on Jan. 1 among employees who purchased tickets there. After she got home from work that day, she checked her tickets. “I checked the first one—nothing, zero. Then I checked the second ticket,” she recalled. “I thought, ‘Oh, this can’t be right, I think I just won $100,000!’ I was ecstatic!”

College professor John Engstrom of Mountain Lake bought a Powerball ticket on a whim and ended up being Minnesota’s 5th $1 million or more winner (so far!) in 2020. The $1 million winning ticket just barely escaped a baby’s diaper mishap and what would have been a disastrous trip through the washing machine. Engstrom “didn’t think twice” about the Powerball ticket in his coat pocket from the day he purchased it until Christmas Eve when he did some unplanned laundry thanks to his 11-month old grandson. Luckily, he checked the coat pocket before throwing the coat into the washing machine. “I told my son, ‘Your baby had a million-dollar mess!’ If it wasn’t for his messy diaper, I wouldn’t have checked the ticket.” Adding, “It was a miracle I didn’t lose the ticket.” ​​ ​Kwik Trip #344, located at 2549 E. Madison Ave. in Mankato, sold Engstrom’s winning ticket.

Here’s a few more Minnesotans who are having fantastic starts to the new year and can cross “visit lottery office to claim big prize” off of their bucket list:

  • Stanley and Marcia Juenemann of Elk River, $1 million Powerball prize. Market Place Express, located at 16777 Marketplace Drive in Big Lake.
  • Camhong Ly of Minneapolis, $1 million Minnesota Millionaire Raffle prize.​ Cub Foods, 3245 County Road 10 in Brooklyn Center.
  • Paul and Jeb Paczynski, both of Hermantown, $1.6 million Gopher 5 jackpot​. Hermantown General Store, 5105 Morris Thomas Road in Hermantown.
  • Gerardo Diaz of Glencoe, $100,000 Minnesota Millionaire Raffle prize. Kwik Trip #845, 520 Reform St. N., in Norwood Young America.
  • Matthew Morse of St. Paul, $100,000 Minnesota Millionaire Raffle prize. Speedway #70, 1884 E. 134th St., in Burnsville.
  • Arnold Miller of Red Wing, $100,000 Raffle prize. Kwik Trip #376, 301 W. 7th St., in Red Wing.
  • Daniel Gilliam of Buhl, $200,000 Money Mania scratch game prize. Buhl Short Stop, 1001 Forest St., in Buhl.
  • Zulfiquar Punjani of Blaine, $500,000 100X scratch game prize. Super Day 2, 2525 W. 7th St., in St. Paul.
  • Brian Eggert of Elk River, $200,000 Money Maker scratch game prize. BP Amoco, 19696 Evans St., in Elk River.
  • Cristina Eley of Long Lake, $183,315 Print-N-Play $5 Bingo. Cub Foods, 1008 E. Highway 55, in Buffalo.

If having fun is one of your new year’s resolutions, say I’MN and get out and play in Minnesnowta!