Winner drawn in $7M Queen of Hearts raffle in northern Illinois
MCHENRY, Ill. (CBS 58) -- A winner has finally been drawn in a nearly two-year-old raffle fundraiser that carries with it a huge payout of more than $7 million.
Thousands of people, including Wisconsinites, descended on a VFW in McHenry, Illinois to try their luck at the Queen of Hearts drawing. McHenry is about 20 minutes from the Wisconsin-Illinois border.
Mixed with canoe paddles, you could drown in a sea of tickets held by a new vessel.
"This is the first time we used this trough. It's a horse trough that we had to get," said Dwane Lungren, Commander at the McHenry VFW Post. "We got over 2 million tickets right now so in order to properly store them and mix them up, that was the best thing to do was to bring this trough in."
"I've been coming for probably the last eight weeks," says Dee Hadley who comes from Necedah for her regular pilgrimage.
Some said they've spent hundreds on tickets to try to win.
For others like Fritz Wichman from Bristol, it's a first-time visit to the spot where every flat surface is covered with people furiously filling in tickets.
Others are more seasoned.
"Made up some stickers and it goes a lot faster," Brian Rozhon from McHenry, Illinois said. "It's a lot different than it was when it first started too. It was nothing like this. The odds were a lot better than playing any type of lottery but now it's just like any of the other stuff."
"People come from further away, way up in Wisconsin. We're close. We're at the border," said Mary Johnson from Lake Como. "We only buy $20 worth because we have two sons, their families, my daughters, and me. It takes one to win. We're not crazy."
A winner was called after the fourth drawn ticket. The winner has only been identified as a Laurie S. from Illinois. She asked organizers to keep her anonymous in a phone call.
The next Queen of Hearts drawing in McHenry starts in January.