Edmonton Eskimos 50/50 winner says long wait was worth big win
He's had to be patient, but the winner of last week's record-setting Eskimos 50-50 draw is glad he was.
"We waited about an hour in the line. We went down halfway through the first and waited all the way until half-time. Quite the wait but well worth it," said a soft-spoken Connor Croken, 20, who came to Commonwealth Stadium Tuesday morning to officially receive his $348,534 cheque.
The total began at more than $70,000 after an unclaimed draw was held over to last Thursday's game against the Stampeders. Throngs of hopeful winners helped grow the pot to a total of $348,534, eclipsing the previous record of just under $128,000.
"This is the big one," said Eskimo president Len Rhodes before handing Croken his winnings and congratulating him and his family.
"It's definitely been overwhelming," said Croken, adding he doesn't have any plans to spend the money soon but has considered going to Las Vegas after he turns 21 in October. "I was freaking out. I couldn't believe it. I'm still in shock. I wake up every morning, I can't believe that I won."
He said house and boat purchases aren't out of the question either.
The team did get some criticism after news of the massive draw increased demand for tickets at the game, making the jobs of the volunteer ticket sellers far more difficult and lineups long.
"We recognize there was pressure on the system, to say the least," said Rhodes. "In a situation like that, being prepared for it was almost impossible."
"The sellers all deserve medals," he said, commenting on the front-line ticket staff, all of whom are players in Alberta junior football.
The team has invested $45,000 in new printers, hand-helds and a new server to improve the experience in future.
Rose said he is happy the draw also went to help out junior football players in the province.
Few were happier than Croken, though, who posed with his cheque admitting his discomfort in in the spotlight.
"I don't like smiling for cameras," he said. "I'm smiling inside."
Will you be more likely to buy a 50/50 ticket the next time you go to an Eskimos game?