BRIDGEWATER, Maine — A Bridgewater woman is going to pay off some old debts and perhaps take a small vacation next year after she won $100,000 during a celebration in Augusta to mark the 35th anniversary of the Maine State Lottery.
“It was awesome,” Sarah Cook said by phone from her home Thursday. “I never thought I’d win anything, even on the way down to Augusta.”
The 23-year-old said that she bought a Powerball ticket that qualified her to attend the celebration, held Wednesday evening at the Augusta Civic Center. Four thousand people were at the event, which featured food, music and giveaways.
There were several grand prize drawings, including the $100,000 purse, a 2010 Chevy Camaro and a John Deere tractor.
Cook said she bought the Powerball ticket that got her the invitation to the celebration at the I-95 Food Trend in Houlton. Cook works for a Houlton brokerage firm.
She said Thursday that she intends to use her prize money to pay off her home and her car and likely will take a vacation next year. She plans to put the remainder of the money in the bank.
Cook said that news about her win has spread quickly.
“My friends are very excited,” she said.
Albert Schadlick of Wells won the 2010 Camaro, and Frank Couture of Norridgewock won the John Deere tractor, according to lottery officials.
The Maine Lottery began operating in 1974. Since its inception, the lottery has paid more than $2 billion in prizes to winners. Later this year it is expected to surpass the $1 billion mark in revenue contributions to the state’s General Fund. General Fund contributions are distributed to more than 250 state programs.
In addition to the benefits for the winners and the state’s General Fund, lottery sales have a significant economic effect, according to lottery officials. Last year alone, the Maine Lottery paid out $14 million in commissions to more than 1,300 retail ticket agents. The lottery has paid more than $254 million in total commissions since its inception.
In April, the lottery introduced a $1 instant scratch ticket to commemorate “35 Years,” and recently introduced the $5 instant ticket “35th Anniversary Celebration.”