HICKORY, NC (FOX 46) - A tradition of playing the lottery together at family gatherings led to 17 people winning a record Cash 5 jackpot of $1,701,813, according to the NC Education Lottery.
“Every time the family gets together, the guys start speculating about jackpots,” Mai Khou Vang from Landis said in a written statement, who is a spokeswoman for the family.
The seventeen winners, whose families settled in North Carolina from parts of Laos and Vietnam, are Hmong and include brothers, sisters, and cousins.
During a family barbecue on Saturday June 3, they decided to pool their money and get tickets for that night’s Cash 5 drawing. They stopped by the Cubbard Express on U.S. 321 N.W. in Hickory and bought their tickets.
“We checked them early the next morning,” Vang said. “That’s when we started calling each other.”
Another family member, Yer Lo of Hickory, couldn’t believe it when he found out one of the tickets matched all five numbers. “I just said, ‘Get out of here. No way!’” Lo said.
“At first I thought they were playing tricks on me,” said John Lee of Hickory. “I can’t believe we actually won.”
Family members claimed their prizes Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. They split the $1.7 million jackpot 17 ways. After required state and federal tax withholdings, they took home the following:
- Kao Yang Lor of Hickory, $47,311
- Yang Lor of Hickory, $47,311
- Sue Lor of Hickory, $47,311
- John Lee of Hickory, $47,311
- Chia Yang of Morganton, $248,383
- Vapao Lor of Hickory, $47,311
- Peng Lo of Hickory,$47,311
- Chai Lor of Hickory, $47,311
- Mee Thao Lor of Hickory,$47,311
- Nhia Lor of Polkton, $47,311
- Yer Lo of Hickory, $23,655
- Spencer T. Lo of Hickory, $47,311
- Pao Lo of Hickory, $153,761
- Mai P. Vang of Landis, $47,311
- Yang Sao Lor of Hickory, $47,311
- Sator Lor of Hickory, $70,966
- Kong Hmoov Brandon Lor of Hickory, $118,277
Family members all have different plans on how to use their prize money.
Kong Hmoov Brandon Lor of Hickory plans to use his share to help pay for school. He’s going to UNC Charlotte in the fall and plans to major in biology. “It’s a lot of weight off my shoulders,” Lor said. “It’s hard to work and go to school at the same time. It’s a great relief.”
Spencer Lo of Hickory plans to take his wife to Laos. “It’s been 37 years since I’ve been back,” Lo said. “We want to see our cousins and friends. I miss that country.”
Other plans include paying bills, getting a new truck, and traveling.
The odds of winning a Cash 5 jackpot are 1 in 749,398.