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Canadian cattle farmer keeps $1 million lottery win secret

Dec 19, 2005, 9:03 am

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Western Canada Lottery Corporation

A Manitoba cattle farmer hasn't told his friends that he's the province's latest instant millionaire.

Ted Yanke, a 59-year-old cattle farmer, won $1 million after scratching a Set For Life lottery ticket he'd picked on a whim in his hometown of Ashern.

But until yesterday, the soft-spoken farmer had only told his family.

"I go to the coffee shop in the morning," he said. "But when this happened, I didn't tell anybody."

Yanke said he hadn't told anyone in Ashern, which has a population of 2,029. He told his three children, but they even tried to keep it secret from his six grandchildren, who range in age from 5 months to 10 years old. Yanke had heard a friend had won $20 through the scratch lottery earlier that week. He decided that since the tickets had just been restocked, it was a good time to pick one up.

"I went to my truck to scratch it. I saw three "Set For Lifes" and I knew what it meant," he said.Yanke left his 1990 Chevy truck at home yesterday, and instead pulled up to York The Hotel in a limousine, to accept an honorary cheque in front of media. He said the money won't spell the end for his truck.

"It took me home with that ticket, and I don't intend to part with it," he said, adding he had no big purchases planned.

"It's for our retirement," he said of himself and wife Bev, saying he plans to keep farming, for the time being.

"He's a very modest guy," said friend, Budd Burger, when asked why Yanke decided to keep it a secret. "He probably thought it wasn't right."

Burger said he goes for coffee with him in the morning, which is usually Yanke's only time to relax during the day.

"It couldn't have happened to a better guy," he said when told Yanke had won the money. "We'll be getting coffee from him for a couple years," he said, laughing.Yanke's wife, Bev, 56, said she had a hard time believing they had won.

After he had scratched the winning ticket, Yanke came home and said, "Give me a big hug, you're going to be happy." It wasn't until she'd seen the ticket that she believed it had happened.

"Until you really see it, you can't take it all in," she said. She said that her husband has worked hard all his life, putting in 14 hours a day. She says he's never really had a break before.

Yanke's son doesn't think the money will change the way his dad lives.

"He'll still work hard his whole life, that won't change," said Kerry, 31.

It's the first $1-million winner in the area, and it's the province's third millionaire in seven weeks. Another Set For Life million-dollar ticket was claimed in Winnipeg on Oct. 27.

The province's biggest win in history, a Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $27,227,325, was claimed in the city this year on Nov. 12.

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