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Eric Schmudlach

Eric Schmudlach

CLIVE — A Jesup man has won a $30,000 lottery prize.

Eric Schmudlach, 43, won the 15th of 144 top prizes available in the Iowa Lottery’s “Bonus Crossword” scratch game. He purchased his winning ticket at Kwik Star, 841 South St. in Jesup, while stopping for bananas and a fountain pop.

“The funniest part of the story is on my way home, with the Crossword ticket in the bag with the bananas, an Iowa Lottery commercial came on for the exact Bonus Crossword (game) with a $30,000 winner,” he said. “I thought, ‘Oh, there’s no way!’ But it happened.”

Schmudlach, who works for the Waterloo Fire Department, scratched the ticket at home. He said he was pretty excited by the time he’d completed nine words and needed just one more to reach the top-prize level with one letter to go.

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“I looked at the ticket and I said, ‘If this last one is an N or a T, it’s going to be really fun,” he recalled with a laugh. “And it was a T.”

He returned to the store to scan his ticket and verify the big win. He claimed his prize on Tuesday at the lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids.

Schmudlach said he plans to use his winnings on a pool for his family.

Bonus Crossword is a $3 scratch game that features overall odds of 1 in 3.52. For more information about this game, and the number of prizes still available, visit ialottery.com.

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