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$1 million win is no joke for Iowa man

Michael Hoogerwerf

Drawing Date: 6/23/2023

July 18, 2023 - A Davenport veteran admits that his well-established history as someone who enjoys practical jokes worked against him as he tried to convince his three adult daughters that he really had won a $1 million Mega Millions® prize.

“I’m a bit of a prankster,” Michael “Hoogie” Hoogerwerf said with a chuckle Monday as he claimed his prize at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive. “But I just talked with them personally and said, ‘It’s true, it’s real.’”

His daughters traveled with him Monday to help celebrate his win, but remained good-naturedly leery, even during their visit to the lottery. “I believe him now, absolutely. Or this is the best prank ever,” said daughter Melissa Heeren of Taylor Ridge, Ill.

While the jackpots in Mega Millions and Powerball® have been growing since mid-April and have now climbed into the stratosphere, Hoogerwerf bought his $1 million-winning ticket earlier in the current Mega Millions run. He won his prize in the Mega Millions drawing on June 23. His winnings were among four large lottery prizes won in Iowa during a five-day span in late June.

Hoogerwerf, 70, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said he learned about his big win the day after the drawing. He was on a charity motorcycle ride that day when his mobile phone rang. It was the manager of the store where he is a regular customer and bought his Mega Millions ticket. The Iowa Lottery had notified the store that it sold the $1 million-winning ticket, and the store manager thought that Hoogerwerf might be the one who bought it.

Hoogerwerf recalled that he had his ticket in his wallet, so he got it out to review it as the store manager read the winning numbers to him over the phone. He was indeed the $1 million winner.

“And then she about passed out, I think,” he said. “She was more excited than I was. I just kind of took it in stride. Apparently though, on the ride home, our ride was done at that point, so we left the group and went on home. And I did release the handlebar and do a fist pump – twice.”

Hoogerwerf bought his winning easy-pick ticket at Smokin’ Joe’s, 3120 Rockingham Road in Davenport. He came within one number of the Mega Millions jackpot, matching the first five numbers but missing the Mega Ball.

The winning numbers in the Mega Millions drawing on June 23 were: 13-62-65-67-69 and Mega Ball 14. The Megaplier® was 5. Hoogerwerf’s ticket was the only one in the country to win a $1 million prize that night. Smokin’ Joe’s will receive a $1,000 bonus from the Iowa Lottery for selling the $1 million-winning ticket.

Hoogerwerf said that after he realized he won a big prize, he took some time to talk with an accountant and a lawyer before stepping forward to claim his winnings. But he also talked with contractors about work on his house.

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about that,” he said. “The first thing is, the homestead is getting a facelift. And then there will be some investments.” He has one item in particular on his wish list. “I would actually like to have electricity in my garage,” he said.