SHERIDAN — What would you do if you won the lottery?
The WyoLotto Cowboy Draw began in March 2015 and is a five-number combination lottery with numbers ranging from 1 to 45. The odds of getting all five numbers correct are approximately 1 in 600,000.
With the Cowboy Draw standing at a record-high $2.26 million — there is a federal tax on lottery winnings of 24 percent but no state tax, so the net earnings would be about $1.7 million — The Sheridan Press asked several citizens how they would spend their hypothetical winnings.
Watt would do a few things, including move to the warmer climate of Washington, D.C., where his daughter lives.
“I would find some part-time job that you do just because you want to do it and you don’t have to worry about how much it pays or anything, because you’ve got money behind you,” Watt said.
He would also buy a plane ticket to visit his granddaughters in Minnesota, along with setting up college scholarship funds for them. For fun, he would likely take a trip to Disney World with the grandchildren.
Ye Olde Book Nook owner
Channel said she would purchase some land and construct a new building to better house her bookstore.
“It’s my first love,” Channel said of her business. “Even if I had a lot of money, I would never stop (working).”
She would probably travel as well, perhaps on a train tour of the Northeast United States during autumn to see the leaves changing color.
Channel also said she might go on a Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales sightseeing tour in Germany, which would involve a train and boat excursion.
“I just think it’d be fun,” Channel said.
“It’s very expensive so that’s why I wouldn’t go now, but if I had the money I would.”
Manager at Best Out West Antiques and Collectibles
Assistant manager at Best Out West
They both had practical uses for their winnings. Mesa would pay off all her bills, buy a house and retire. She said she enjoys living in Sheridan but that she would consider moving elsewhere for retirement.
Judes said she would take her time to think about what to do and likely eventually move to Phoenix — where her son lives — to retire and travel more with her family.
She wants to see places around the country like San Francisco and Disney World and perhaps go on a cruise.
Judes also said she would purchase the car her husband used to own, a 1971 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400, and gift it to him as a surprise.
The Chocolate Tree owner
Bishop had a more altruistic answer. She would invest some of the lottery money back into the Sheridan community, likely through a workforce development or employee education and training program.
“Part of it would be in motivating or training people how to work in a small town like this,” Bishop said. “How do you develop the mindset to keep people here and enjoy doing what they’re doing? Maybe I don’t have the answer for that, and I certainly wouldn’t want to pay a committee to figure it out, but I’m sure it could be figured out.”
Bishop would keep operating her business in town. Instead of working six days per week, though, she would hire quality employees and work fewer days at the store. That would provide more time for her to spend time with friends and relax with time on her own. Bishop said she’d stay in Sheridan and probably wouldn’t travel much.
“Just some time for myself to do the things I’d like to do,” Bishop said. “I would like to just have time for myself to be creative and read and socialize and cook but not necessarily go anywhere outside of Sheridan.”
If they found out they won, several people would remain anonymous, which is an option in Wyoming. In some other states, a lottery winner’s name must be made public. If possible, Watt would stay unknown so people wouldn’t badger him for some of the earnings.
“I’m sure that that would be a downside,” Watt said. “As soon as people knew that you won anything, they’d be coming after you … I think what I would do, is set aside a pot of it as giveaway money and have somebody else in charge of that. Say, ‘I don’t deal with that, I’ve set up this trust fund, [this person] is the executor, you go talk to them.’”
Judes and Mesa agreed, saying they would perhaps go to a financial advisor after claiming the winnings anonymously.
“Otherwise you have people coming out of the woodwork,” Mesa said.
Answers varied to an unlikely scenario, but one for which it might be worth preparing.