Larry and Nancy Ross
On May 9, 2000, Larry and Nancy Ross of Shelby Township, Michigan, won a share of the $363 million Big Game lottery jackpot, the largest lottery jackpot in North America to date.
The Big Game, now named Mega Millions, is a multi-state lottery game played in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia. Tickets cost $1 and, in addition to the jackpot, there are eight other ways to win cash prizes ranging from $1 to $150,000.
The Rosses bought the winning Big Game "easy pick" at Mr. K's Party Shoppe, 2238 Auburn Road, in Utica. The winning numbers in the May 9 Big Game drawing were: 1, 2, 12, 33, 37 and the Big Money Ball number was 4.
"We still can't believe we won!" said Larry of his family's unbelievable good fortune as they claimed the prize on May 12, 2000. "The whole thing is overwhelming and we are still adjusting to the shock. We saw the clerk who had sold us the ticket on TV. We re-checked the ticket and found we had the winner!"
The Rosses decided to take their $181.5 million share of the jackpot winnings in a one-time, lump-sum payment for approximately $90 million (the estimated present cash value of the jackpot share before taxes). The actual cash value of the prize will be determined after the sale of the Treasury bonds that fund the prize.
Larry said he and Nancy plan to share the wealth with several family members and will take some time to figure out what to do with the rest. He joked that he may take up a new career: golf.
"This really couldn't have happened to a nicer family!" said Michigan Lottery Commissioner Don Gilmer. "It's been such a pleasure to meet the Rosses and share in their excitement. This was the longest jackpot run in Big Game history and everyone at the Michigan Lottery is glad it had a happy ending for one of our players."
Larry, 47, and Nancy, 46, were born and raised in the metro-Detroit area. They own and operate Bush Pools, a pool installation and maintenance business that has been in the family for 13 years.
The $363 million windfall unseated a July 1998 Powerball jackpot of $295.7 million as the largest lottery jackpot in North American lottery history.
The jackpot run resulted in some very impressive lottery sales totals on its way up to the $363 million record level. March 3 was the last time on which The Big Game jackpot was won; from the March 7 drawing through the May 9 drawing, Big Game ticket sales in all participating states totaled more than $565 million.