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26 Airline Mechanics Share Lottery

March 7, 2000

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Twenty-six American Airlines mechanics from Oklahoma who routinely buy lottery tickets together will split a $50 million prize.

The workers had one of three winning tickets for the $150 million drawing Saturday night in the multi-state Powerball game. The two other tickets, each worth $50 million, were claimed in Minnesota and Missouri.

``This group always comes up and buys tickets here,″ said Dickie Rolls, co-owner of the Gunny Sack convenience store in Caney, Kan., just across the Oklahoma line. ``They have a certain amount that they pool together, I guess, and then someone comes and buys the tickets.″

The holders of the winning tickets have the option of collecting $50 million over 25 years or taking about $25.94 million _ reduced to $16.6 million after taxes _ in a lump sum. The 25-year option results in annual payments of $1.28 million.

The largest Powerball jackpot is $295.7 million, drawn in 1998. The game is offered in 20 states and the District of Columbia.

In Minnesota, Keith Goergen carried his winning $50 million ticket to lottery headquarters in the pocket of his blue denim Minnesota Vikings shirt, after keeping it all weekend for safekeeping in the refrigerator.

``It was just scary,″ said his wife, Carol Goergen. ``We’ve been getting constant phone calls, no sleep, no food. It’s overwhelming.″

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On the Net: http://www.powerball.com

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