For the second time this week, someone who is 23 years old and lives in western Iowa has claimed a big Powerball prize. Bryon Stewart of Onawa is the latest, claiming a $2 million prize he won in Wednesday's world-record jackpot drawing.
Stewart admits he got very little sleep Wednesday night after he and his girlfriend realized that he had won big.
"But with all the adrenaline, I feel wide awake!" he said with a laugh as he claimed his prize Thursday at lottery headquarters in Clive.
Stewart, who works as a security officer at the WinnaVegas Casino & Resort in Onawa, said he bought his winning ticket Wednesday night, just a few hours before the Powerball drawing. He had a total of three tickets for the drawing. He and his girlfriend, Taylor Kuhlman, looked up the winning numbers together shortly after the drawing.
"We looked at the numbers and I was reading them off and my girlfriend was saying yes or no," Stewart said. "And she kept saying yes every time. It got to that last number where she said no, but we knew we'd already won."
Kuhlman corroborated his story, and added to it.
"He was reading them off and I'm just like, 'Yes, yes,'" she said. "And by the time he got to the last two numbers, I just started screaming and jumping up and down."
Stewart claimed the prize, but said the couple would be sharing the winnings.
"It feels great to have something like this happen to you," he said. "You just never expect it, you know? We're from a small town, just a normal couple, you don't think something like this could happen, and it does."
Does he think that working at a casino added to his luck?
"There is luck there," he said. "It's a great feeling."
How does he feel about being THIS close to having a share of Wednesday's giant jackpot?
"It would have been nice," he said. "But $2 million is a lot of money. We've got to embrace it and keep moving forward with it."
The couple said they plan to pay off some loans, and perhaps look for a house someday soon.
"The biggest thing is, I want the money to last as long as we can," Stewart said. "I'm only 23, $2 million is a lot of money, but it's not going to get me 'til I'm 80. I want to make it last."
Stewart said he will continue to work, and Kuhlman said she will as well.
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