RIFLE — The Powerball ticket for the largest lottery jackpot ever won in Colorado — worth $90 million before taxes — was sold at the Kum & Go convenience store in north Rifle.
While the winner’s identity was unknown Sunday afternoon, people said they hoped it was someone from Rifle, which has struggled to recover since the recession and a drop in natural gas activity in the area.
“I wish it was us, but I hope they enjoy every minute of it,” said Terry Kirk of Silt Mesa, who was dining at Shooters Grill.
“I hope they give back to the community,” added his wife, Lee.
Kelly Tabor, spokeswoman for the Colorado Lottery, said claims offices would not be open until 8 a.m. Monday. Whoever won would likely go to the office in either Grand Junction or Denver.
“He or she is probably aware that they have won, but they can’t claim the ticket until Monday,” Tabor said. “Rifle is such a small community. I’m hoping it’s somebody local.”
Almost everybody wished the winner well.
“Lucky them,” said Walter Johnson of Gypsum, who was eating at WingNutz Bar and Grill in north Rifle. “I try to remember to buy a ticket, but I never do.”
The winner has the choice of either taking a lump sum or an annuity. The lump-sum payment would be $54.9 million. An annuity payment would be spread out over 29 years.
“I’m very happy for them, and that would be great if it was someone from Rifle,” said Matt Archambault of Rifle. “And if they need someone to help with anything, I’m here. But seriously — I’m happy for whoever won. That’s awesome.”
Of course the winner could be from anywhere.
Besides Rifle being on Interstate 70, it had more people in town than usual Saturday with the Garfield County Fair going on.
The Kum & Go store itself is a winner: It will receive a $50,000 commission for selling the winning ticket. The commission is considered income, and the city of Rifle will likely see a bump in sales tax revenue, Tabor said.
Powerball is a multistate game with a starting jackpot of $40 million and other prizes ranging from $2 to $4 million. Proceeds from Colorado Lottery games go toward enhancing, protecting and improving parks, recreation areas, wildlife trails and open space.