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Minnesota couple wins big Gopher 5 lottery prize

May 8, 2006, 10:02 am

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Minnesota Lottery

After years of playing the lottery, a Witoka, Minnesota, couple hit the jackpot Tuesday.

Bob Allred hit all five numbers in the Gopher 5 lottery and won $1.4 million.

Allred and his wife, Beth, have played the lottery for "many, many years."

Bob said usually they play a certain set of numbers, but on Tuesday, while visiting his father at the Sauer Memorial Home off Highway 61, he stopped in the SuperAmerica convenience store and bought five tickets with computer-generated numbers.

Allred said he and Beth usually watch the drawing on television Tuesday and Thursday nights, but they were busy cleaning a cemetery Tuesday night.

Wednesday morning, Beth checked her numbers in the newspaper and told Bob she guessed she would still have to go to work. Then she checked Bob's.

"She looked again and dropped her spoon in her cereal," he said.

They both went to work, still not sure if they had really won. Later, Bob got an official Minnesota Lottery print out, which confirmed his winning numbers. "There was one winner," he said. "And it was us."

Allred said he wanted to tell his family all at the same time, so he asked his two sons, Mark and Michael, and their wives to come over Thursday night.

"Wednesday and Thursday were pretty long days," he said.

The couple took the day off Friday and went to the lottery headquarters in Roseville, where they claimed their check for $958,000 n after taxes.

"Boy, Uncle Sam takes a chunk," Allred said. He expects to have to pay another $150,000 next April.

That night, they stopped at Treasure Island Casino for a celebratory dinner and a little more gambling. (They weren't as lucky this time.)

Sunday, life was getting back to normal, as Allred spent the afternoon mowing the grass.

Allred, 53, doesn't plan to quit his job at the Coca Cola bottling plant in Winona, but he said Beth, 52, will be able to retire early from her job in Rochester after more than 25 years of commuting.

"It's time to get her off the freeway," he said.

Otherwise, they plan to set aside some college money for their three grandchildren and pay off the mortgage on their home.

"It's going to make our life comfortable," Allred said.

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