Idahoans know that when it comes to the Powerball, they live in a very special place.
You’ll find the only store in America that’s sold a jackpot-winning ticket TWICE in the state’s capital city. But when it comes to the number of Idahoans who’ve won a jackpot, how do we stack up against other states?
Since Powerball made its debut in 1992, the insanely popular multi-state lottery has been played in 44 states, Washington D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Jackpocket has kept a running tally of which states have produced winners through August 3, 2022. At this point, four states: Maine, Mississippi, North Dakota and Wyoming have never produced a jackpot winner.
Which state do you think has had the most winners? By the law of averages, you’d think it’d be a massive state like New York or California, right? While both of them are in the Top 10, they’re nowhere near the title of “Luckiest Powerball State” and that’s because they were light to the party. New York didn’t start offering the game until January 2010. California added it in April 2013.
The title of luckiest state goes to Indiana, which has produced a Powerball jackpot winner an impressive 39 times! Missouri is close behind at 31. Both of these states, like Idaho, have been with the game since the very beginning.
So where does Idaho rank on the list of “Luckiest Powerball” states? With five winners, we’re tied Michigan, New Mexico and Oregon at #16. Most lotto players and Idaho are familiar with Pam Hiatt and Brad Duke, but who were the other three winners? We dug through the Idaho Lottery’s archives to find out.
Martha and Fred Gibbons
In November 1992, the couple became Idaho’s first Powerball winners when they hit the jackpot for $22.1 million. The Lewiston Tribune recapped the immediate aftermath of the Gibbons’ win, revealing that Fred went to his job at Micron and their son went through the entire school day at Meridian Middle without knowing that his parents had just become millionaires. In the Idaho Lottery’s “Winners Guide,” Martha said the only big purchase she made the first year was a new car. The couple ultimately decided on taking the yearly annuity payments so that they wouldn’t be tempted to overspend. Those 20 checks were around $887,000 after taxes.
America fell in love with Pam Hiatt and that’s probably because her lottery story was so endearing. She was expecting a baby and serving in the Idaho National Guard as an Apache helicopter mechanic. Hiatt stopped at a Jacksons store in Boise on the way to work and used her regular strategy: play the ages of her family members. She had forgotten that her little brother had just turned 8 the week before and accidentally played the numbers 7-20-21-26-27 and Powerball 45 which were the correct numbers for the $87.5 Million jackpot. Like the Gibbons, she chose the 20-year annuity payments that worked out to about $3.1 million per year after taxes.
Hiatt appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman after her win and revealed that she used a significant portion of that first check to buy new cars for everyone in her family. We also know that she built a pretty incredible home with the money. We stumbled upon a listing for an incredible $3.95 million mansion in Hidden Springs in 2020. When we shared the listing, we had no idea it was Hiatt’s lottery home until our listeners started tipping us off. If you want to see the vision she had for the home, you can visit that story in our archives HERE.
Hugh and Janice Robinson
The Robinsons went from living in Hailey to being among the Sun Valley elite on Christmas Day in 1996. According to the Spokesman-Review, Hugh picked up the ticket on the way home from Idaho Falls. They also chose the annuity option and received 20 checks for about $1.74 million. At the time of their win, Hugh was a limousine driver in Sun Valley and Janice worked at Atkinson’s Market.
Who would you tell first if you won the Powerball? The Spokesman-Review reveals that in February 2005, Eric Kyle sort of told his roommate first. Actually, he asked his roommate to double-check his ticket before calling Idaho Lottery officials. We don’t blame him for calling in for a day off after finding out that he won $18.7 million. He planned to use that money on a trip, a car, his parents and younger siblings. Did he ever go back to working at Copper Kitchen? We’re not sure.
Brad’s probably the most famous Powerball winner from Idaho. $220.3 million jackpot in 2005 and put some of it toward the Duke Family Foundation. The foundation hosts an annual golf tournament whose proceeds go toward non-profits supporting kids like Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Salvation Army. He said having the late Micron CEO, Steve Appleton, as a mentor helped him navigate his newfound wealth in a positive manner that benefited the community. He bought his ticket at the SAME store as Pam Hiatt.
The Idaho Lottery recently did a “Where is Brad Duke Now?” video, where he revealed that one of the best things he got to do after the win was give back to his alma mater, Salmon High School, in the form of a new track and field stadium. Duke was on the track team in high school and the school had a dirt track. That disqualified it from being a site where athletes could qualify for the state meet. His stadium included an all-weather track.
Would you like to be the SIXTH Idahoan to win the Powerball? Here’s a look at some of the luckiest lottery locations in the Treasure Valley, including THE store where both Pam and Brad bought their tickets at!
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This list is up to date as of August 30, 2022!
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