Minnesota's Biggest Lottery Winners

Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but it could also be called the Land of 10,000 Lottery Winners! Not all of the state's winners won big lottery prizes but it is certainly fitting to honor those who did.


We've listed the stories of some of Minnesota's biggest lottery winners (in chronological order). When you play the lottery online at theLotter Minnesota you have a chance of winning huge cash prizes just like them! Will we be adding the story of your jackpot win next?

The Happy Huskers, $95.4 million Powerball jackpot, October 25, 2003

Sixteen women, all of them employees at Holdingford High School—15 school cooks and one custodian—had been contributing 25 cents every paycheck for Powerball tickets since 1990. This time it paid off, big time. They held one of two winning tickets for a $190.9 million Powerball jackpot. If you're curious about how much the Happy Huskers ended up with, make sure you know how much a Powerball jackpot is after taxes.

Happy Huskers

The women's syndicate, known as the "Happy Huskers" after their school mascot, posted the ticket on a bulletin board, as they had done with every previous ticket they purchased. When they realized it could be the winner, they hurried to find the key to open the school. One of the women said, "We had to verify it and we checked the newspapers and the local radio station and then we pulled up the Web site on the computer. And, by George! It all matched."

David and Mary Beth Wenell, $98.7 million Powerball jackpot, August 14, 2004

David and Mary Beth Wenell Powerball winner

David Wenell bought a Powerball ticket at a Cub Foods store in Eden Prairie and left it on a dresser before heading with his wife to their cabin in northern Minnesota. They checked the ticket when they came home and learned it was the only one to win the jackpot. After he claimed the prize, David said "I guess I'm a dreamer. I usually fail at this - every week, actually. It's not a bad investment. It's fun. Everybody needs to dream." He had been spending an average of $1 every week over the last 10 years on lottery games. Now he and his wife announced plans to retire, although he had yet to inform his boss about that.

Michael Hawes, $47 million Powerball jackpot, November 1, 2006

Michael Hawes Powerball winner

Michael Hawes of Lakeville kept his lottery ticket in his wallet for over a month until he finally checked it. He learned he had won half of the $94.1 million jackpot. "I brought it to New York and wandered around the streets of New York with it," he said at a news conference at Minnesota State Lottery headquarters. "I had no idea." Hawes and his fiancé have an 8-month-old son named Lucky, who was born six weeks early. "We also had a fortune cookie that said luck is on its way," they said. Their luck arrived in a Powerball draw.

Paul and Sue Rosenau, $180.1 million Powerball jackpot, May 3, 2008

Paul and Sue Rosenau Powerball winner

The Rosenaus from Waseca won the Powerball jackpot on the fifth anniversary of the death of their granddaughter, Makayla. The 2-year-old had suffered from Krabbe disease, a genetic disorder that affects the nervous system. The couple decided to use some of their winnings to start a nonprofit to fund research into finding a treatment for the rare disease, which affects about one in 100,000 newborns. "We are faithful people," Sue told People magazine, "and we definitely believe this is God telling us what we do." Within 18 months of winning the lottery, they had both left their jobs to devote their lives full-time to finding a cure for Krabbe.

Thomas and Kathleen Morris, $228.9 million Powerball jackpot, August 10, 2011

Thomas and Kathleen Morris

"The only way we're going to retire is if we win the lottery," said Kathleen Morris to her husband. A few days later, the Burnsville couple became multi-millionaires, winning "the largest jackpot ever won in Minnesota." The couple, who had been married 38 years at the time, bought five tickets at a SuperAmerica convenience story in Lakeville. They used the random-number option and the fourth ticket was the winner. "It would be nice to think that good things happen to good people," Kathleen Morris said. "I think we've been good people." And now they can retire in style!

Paul White, $149 million Powerball jackpot, August 7, 2013

Paul White Powerball winner

Paul White, a project engineer from Ham Lake, was one of three winners of a $448 Powerball jackpot. "It's crazy," he said. "I've gone through this in my mind so many times. You almost feel like it's coming true." He said, "I kind of thought I'd win someday … I think a lot of good things are going to come out of this for not only my family and friends but for random people … I don't want to work for anybody else for the rest of my life for a paycheck." It looks like his dream came true!

$110 million Mega Millions jackpot!

Over the years, Minnesota has had several Powerball jackpot winners. In addition to the winners listed above, some of the state's winners include Farrah Slad of Brainerd ($150 million in June 1999); Sheryel Hanuman of Minneapolis (one-fourth of a $295 million prize—$73.7 million—in August 2001); John and Sandy Wynne of Oakdale ($61.1 million in October 1999); Keith and Carol Goergen of Elgin (one-third of a $150.1 million jackpot in March 2000); and Ron and Jenny Cronkhite of Moorhead ($49.2 million in September 1998).

The Minnesota State Lottery has offered tickets to the multi-state Mega Millions lottery since 2010, but it took until 2022 for a Minnesotan to win the Mega Millions jackpot. The first ever Mega Millions jackpot winning ticket in the state of Minnesota was purchased on April 12th, 2022 by a couple who made use of the state's lottery privacy laws to stay anonymous after winning the lottery. Amazingly enough, the couple actually met 30 years earlier, and had their first date the same day that Minnesota first started selling lottery scratch tickets. During their date they bought some tickets together, and they've been playing those same numbers ever since. After three decades of waiting, all their patience finally paid off and they won a $110 million jackpot! As they selected the cash option for receiving their prize money, the couple became $66 million richer - it's the perfect love story!

Minnesota's next big winner could purchase their tickets online

Imagine if Minnesota's biggest lottery winners had been able to purchase their tickets online! These days, all Minnesotans can purchase official Minnesota Lottery tickets from anywhere in the state by placing their orders at theLotter Minnesota.

Many ordinary Minnesotans became multi-millionaires overnight by playing the lottery. Will we soon see you listed here among the state's biggest winners?