The Hoover’s Valley Country Store sold a winning $4 million Texas Mega Millions lottery ticket. The ticket cost $2 plus an extra $1 for the Megaplier, which quadrupled the initial award of $1 million. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman
Hoover’s Valley Country Store and Cafe served up a $4 million prize with its famous chicken-fried steak and burgers. The Park Road 4 business near Inks Lake State Park sold the winning Texas Mega Millions lottery ticket for the drawing on Tuesday, Aug. 1, although the proof was not yet showing in the company’s computer system on Thursday morning.
However, the employees already knew because it had made the national news.
“Wednesday, my day started with my phone blowing up,” Office Manager Neva Page said. “It’s been the talk of the community since.”
Owner Fred Wells had the same experience. People he knows across the country called as soon as they saw it on their TV news stations.
“It’s been unbelievable,” he said. “We sold a $10,000 winner once, but nothing this big.”
News of the winning ticket has definitely boosted sales.
“It’s exciting for us,” said Page as she rifled through a pile of lottery receipts. “We’ve sold a lot more lottery tickets since!”
When asked about the chances of lightning striking the same place twice, she and Store Manager Sara Donohoo both laughed. People obviously think it will.
Donohoo was unsure who was behind the counter when the Mega Millions ticket was sold.
“I take the opening shift,” she said. “I could have sold it. We mostly sell Lotería and Pick 3 scratch-offs though.”
The winning ticket had all five numbers — 8, 24, 30, 45, 61 — which was good for $1 million. The prize rose to $4 million because it was also a Megaplier ticket. Winning lottery tickets are multiplied by the Megaplier number drawn if the lottery player purchases that feature. The Megaplier number for this drawing was 4. (The highest is 5.) A Mega Millions ticket costs $2. A Megaplier is a dollar more.
The winner who turned $3 into $4 million has so far remained anonymous, but employees sitting on the front porch of Hoover’s Valley Country Store and Cafe on Thursday morning had fun speculating about who it might be.
“I bet it was a tourist from Austin,” Kingsland resident and cafe Assistant Manager Bridget Schaefer said.
It’s a good guess, as the store and cafe are the closest food shopping to Inks Lake and Longhorn Cavern state parks.
Plus, there’s this to consider.
“If it was somebody out here, we would have heard by now,” said Darlene Benda, one of the head waitresses. She also lives in nearby Kingsland.
However, on second thought:
“I don’t know. If I would have won $4 million, I think I would have kept my mouth shut,” Schaefer said.
When asked how often they bought lottery tickets for themselves, both said never.
“I always lose,” Benda said. “I always lose, so why?”