BURKE COUNTY, N.C. (News Release) — Clayton Cook of Hickory was heading to his grandmother’s house for Monday night dinner when he stopped to try his luck on a $30 ticket and won himself a $1 million top prize.
“It’s indescribable, really,” said Cook of his big win.
While stopping for gas at Advent Grocery on Old Shelby Road in Hickory, he bought a few scratch-offs, including a $10,000,000 Colossal Cash ticket.
“I got to my grandma’s and was scratching them off and it wasn’t looking so good,” recalled Cook. “I hadn’t won anything until I came to my last ticket.”
Just as he was about to start scratching, Cook’s grandma walked in the room.
“I was on the second line of the last ticket and I kept on scratching,” said Cook. “There was just about a minute of silence and about that time I looked right at her and I said, ‘Grandma, I just won $1 million.’ She said, ‘Oh my Lord!’ and gave me a big hug.”
Cook claimed his prize Thursday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. He had the choice of taking the $1 million as an annuity of 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. He opted for the lump sum and took home $424,509 after required state and federal tax withholdings.
“I’ve been wanting to start a business with my brother,” said Cook. “So that might be one of the things that I invest in.” Cook is also expecting his first child in February and said his prize money will help prepare for the baby.
The $10,000,000 Colossal Cash game launched in August 2018 with four top prizes of $10 million and 16 $1 million prizes. One $10 million top prize and three $1 million prizes remain to be won.
Ticket sales from scratch-off games make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $725 million a year for education. For details on how $5.2 million made a difference in Burke County in 2019, click on the “Impact” section of the lottery’s website.