The Strangest Things Powerball Winners Have Bought

Cars, homes or water parks—what would you spend your winnings on?
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Aerial shot of a wave pool at a water park
  • Author:
    Shaun Greer
  • Published:

Money may not buy happiness, but it can sure buy a lot of things that make you happy.

Millions upon millions of lottery tickets are sold each day. And that can kind of makes our chances of winning big somewhat small.

But, someone’s got to win the prize.

What if that someone is you? What would you do with hundreds of millions of dollars? We’ve already looked at the most popular things that Powerball winners buy with their windfall.

We’ve even created a fantasy “Buy List” or two in the past. So, this week, it felt appropriate to look at some of the strangest things lottery winners have spent their jackpots on.

1. John Kutey

Lucky jackpot winner, John Kutey, decided that the obligatory mansion and sports car were not for him. After he won a life-changing sum of $28.7 million, he and his wife decided to donate a percentage of their jackpot win to a plot of land on which to build a water park in honour of their parents.

The Kuteys donated approximately $200,000 towards Spray Park, which is located in Green Island, New York. It may seem like a somewhat strange thing to put money towards, but we bet it wasn’t a wash out.

2. Gloria Mackenzie

Having hit one of the biggest-ever Powerball jackpots at just under $600 million, the very lucky Gloria Mackenzie had buckets of cash to spare after buying a new home and sharing some of her prize with her loved ones.

So, Gloria did something that some may find odd, but we’d argue sensible and—she donated money to her old high school. The school needed roughly $2 million for essential repairs or it would have had to shut its doors.

Gloria did the best thing she could: she gave the school all the cash it needed to do the repairs and stay open.

3. Jay Vargas

At the young age of 19, Jay Vargas won a Powerball jackpot of $35.3 million, which instantly crowned him the youngest lottery winner in the US. Vargas knew he wanted to throw his money into the world of entertainment.

Now, Vargas wasn’t your typical video-gaming, online-casino-wagering youngster. Oh, no. The South Carolina resident partnered up with friends in the entertainment industry to create a TV show called Wrestlicious Take Down. The show was essentially a sketch comedy, complete with professional female wrestlers that left little to the imagination of the show’s viewers.

Sadly (or is that unsurprisingly?), the show lasted just one season and went off air in 2010 after earning thousands of viewers in the United States.

4. Louise White

Winning the lottery is ever so sweet, especially if you’re Rhode Island resident, Louise White. Just before Louise bought her $336.5 million winning ticket, she decided to grab a rainbow sherbet.

In honour of her lucky sherbet, Louise began the Rainbow Sherbet Trust, which aimed to help her closest family and friends.

5. Les Robins

Les won a staggering $111 million jackpot way back in 1993 and used some of his winnings to open up a summer day camp for children in Wisconsin.

The camp was set up close to his waterfront home, and it includes a pool, a gym, riding stables and enough water-powered toys to keep kids between the ages of six and 16 happy for the duration of their stay.

6. Dennis Mahurin

Dennis was a homeless man in Illinois before he won $50,000 in the lottery. Rather than moving out of his tent, he decided to give $100 to every homeless person in the community.

While some winners tend to crash and burn after a win, even a small win like Dennis’ shows that you can manage your newfound windfall with heart, mind and sensibility, regardless of what your situation was like before you won. What Would You Buy? Some of these winners spent their cash on strange things while others put theirs towards good – unfamiliar but personally significant - causes.

What strange ventures or products do you think you’d spend your Powerball jackpot on?

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