Wiley Tuley is a lucky, lucky man.
The retired electronics technician from Cedar Rapids won $200,000 in Thursday’s evening drawing of the Iowa Lottery’s Pick 4 game.
Tuley actually won the game multiple times in the single drawing, which was why his prize was so large. He bought 14 tickets, with three plays per ticket. He played different combinations of the same four numbers - 1, 9, 4, 3, his birth year - for each of the plays. Those four numbers were all winners, which means he won a total of 42 times.
“In all the years I have worked at the lottery I don’t recall anyone winning this many prizes totaling that amount in a Pick 4 drawing,” Iowa Lottery spokesperson Mary Neubauer said.
Pick 4 players can spend different amounts to increase their odds of winning. For example, players can play “straight” or “box” - a “straight” ticket means the numbers the player picks must match in the exact order they are drawn. A more expensive ticket lets players match numbers in any order. There are also combinations of straight and box combinations to choose from.
Because of the way the game works, the odds of winning are greater than for many other Iowa Lottery games like Mega Millions or Powerball, Neubauer said, though the prizes are also smaller.
Tuley purchased seven of the winning tickets from Hy-Vee, 20 Wilson Ave. SW and then went across the street to purchase the other seven at Hy-Vee Gas, 2300 Bowling St. SW.
Tuley, 70, said his wife didn’t believe him when he told her he’d won.
“Her jaw dropped,” he said. “She said, ‘You’re kidding me.’”
He said he has a few ideas for how to spend his winnings but wants to keep them to himself for now. He said winning feels pretty good.
“It feels great, actually,” he said.
Tuley has won the Pick 4 game twice before. In July 2009, he won $24,000 in one drawing, and he won twice in 2010, with a total of $9,125 in prizes from two drawings.“It’s one of the luckiest stories we’ve ever heard,” Neubauer said.