Ornery dog plays key role in lottery win for Utah workers
SALT LAKE CITY — A group of blue collar University of Utah workers will split $1 million in lottery winnings thanks to a set of keys left in a truck and an ornery little dog named “Stella.”
Thirteen years after playing the same set of numbers every month in the Idaho lottery, the group of 33 workers who work on heating and cooling university buildings hit pay dirt when Steve Hughes left his truck running to keep his dog “Stella” warm while he went inside to a gas station near Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, on Jan. 6. Utah has no lottery.
When he returned to his truck, his miniature pincher had locked him out by putting her paw on the manual lock. Hughes, 29, planned to buy the ticket elsewhere, but instead he had his girlfriend buy it there while he tried to pick the lock with a slim jim.
He eventually coached Stella to put her paws on the electronic window button in the back seat, allowing Hughes to get in the car.
What seemed like an annoying delay that day turned out to be serendipitous when the group discovered Wednesday night that they had won second prize in the Idaho Powerball. They announced the great news during a morning meeting Thursday morning at the HVAC shop at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Hughes thought it was a joke — looking for the camera filming the prank.
“It was pretty exciting,” said Richard Tison, 50, the supervisor.
About 20 members of the group made the 5-hour trip in a bus to Boise, Idaho on Friday to turn in their winning ticket. The rest had to stay behind to make sure the university's buildings were toasty on the cold winter day, Tison said.
Tison and Hughes say they will each get about $20,000 after taxes, or as Hughes said, “A nice little bonus during the year.”
Hughes plans to save half of his share and buy a four-wheeler. Many in the group plan to buy four-wheelers or drag cars, he said. Some are going to save or invest it.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Justices consider social media, free speech
- Immigrants warned of increase in scams
- Cathedral may host slave trade museum
- Tough Texas gets prison results by going softer on crime
- Study touts benefits of full-day preschool
- Ferguson angles to avoid fate of riot-torn cities
- McCarthy-era felon: Lies doomed me
- Heart stent implanted, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg goes home
- Kahlo’s workplace to be reimagined in New York Botanical Garden
- Some in Congress turn down retirement pension, but many cash in
- Oregon police dog fired from job