SACRAMENTO – The California Lottery today held a news conference to unveil the lucky Lottery player who won Tuesday night’s $51 million MEGA Millions jackpot.
Ronnie Orender, a Bakersfield man and soon-to-be-retired truck driver, came into the Lottery’s Central Valley District Office with his family to claim his winnings. “I just can’t believe this, I beat a million to 1 odds,” Orender said. After being told the odds were actually 176 million to 1, he said, “Yeah, and I got the 1.”
It was actually Orender’s mother, Etta Urquhart, who took his $2 and bought two MEGA Millions tickets at Stuarts Oak Street Mobil in Bakersfield. When she checked his tickets the following day, she was immediately taken aback. “I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” she said of the moment when she noticed that the ticket had matched all six numbers – 1, 16, 29, 36, 50, and Mega number 16.
Ordender said he plans to use his newfound wealth to take care of his parents and other family as well. When asked specifically what they planned to do with their money, Orender’s step-father Bob quipped “we’re going to spend it.”
Orender, who opted to take the lump sum cash payment of $32.3 million, did state his intent to buy a new house in Bakersfield, take care of family members, and possibly donate money to good causes.
“It’s hard for us to believe, but we’re just going to do everything we can to enjoy it as much as possible,” Orender said.
Orender wasn’t the only big winner on Tuesday night. The retailer that sold the winning ticket – Stuarts Oak Street Mobil – will receive a bonus of $255,000 for selling the big winner.
MEGA Millions is a multistate game, played in California and 41 other states. Players pick five numbers from 1 to 56 plus a Mega number from 1 to 46. Draw times are Tuesdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m. PST. Tickets are $1 and can be purchased from any of the more than 21,000 California Lottery retailers. Please visit the California Lottery’s MEGA Millions site for more information.
The California Lottery is celebrating 25 years of enhancing education and supporting local communities. More than 94 cents of every dollar spent by our players goes back to the community in the form of contributions to public schools and colleges, prizes and retail compensation. Since 2000, Lottery players have contributed $1 billion to public schools each year, and, since we began in 1985, Lottery players have contributed more than $23 billion to education.