Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'2 minutes after I read the winning numbers, I retired': Winnipeg lotto winner

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Now that the winners of the fourth-largest lottery win in Manitoba history are retired, they can pursue what appears to be their true love: stand-up comedy.

Bruce and Monique Willman met the media Wednesday afternoon to receive their oversized cheque for $17 million from lottery officials, and peppered their comments with a string of one-liners, much to the delight of the 40 or so friends and family members who attended the press conference.

When asked how she found out about their win, Monique feigned surprise and replied, "We just realized we won half an hour ago."

Actually, the couple discovered their big win Sunday morning. After making a Mother's Day breakfast for his wife, Bruce decided to check their ticket's numbers online. When he matched all six numbers, he couldn't believe his eyes. He needed secondary confirmation.

"We went to two different 7-Elevens because we didn't trust the first machine. Until you get the official word from Western Lotteries, you still don't believe it," Monique said.

"I just knew that two minutes after I read the winning numbers, I retired," Bruce said.

Monique is retired from work in the area of health care while her husband works at a metal shop.

The couple received a rock star's welcome as they walked into the press conference room at the Fort Garry Hotel. Their friends and family members whooped and hollered throughout. They also rushed the couple, smartphones in hand, when they were presented with their novelty cheque.

Bruce laughed as he recounted getting into the limousine in front of the lotteries office shortly after noon.

"These two guys walked by and one of them opened his arms and yelled out, 'Dad!'" he said.

The Willmans won $17,026,623.50 in Saturday's 6/49 draw. The jackpot is the largest won in Manitoba since Kirby and Marie Fontaine of Sagkeeng First Nation won a $50-million Lotto Max prize in 2009.

Prior to that, Manitoba's record lottery jackpot was won by Winnipeg banker Dawn Fraser, who cashed in $27.2 million off a Lotto 6/49 ticket in November 2005.

In 2007, a Standard Aero aircraft mechanic won $17 million through the Millionaire Life Lottery.

Saturday's winning numbers were 2, 10, 16, 21, 24 and 49, according to results posted Sunday on the WCLC website.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 15, 2013 A6

History

Updated on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 12:05 PM CDT: Removes unrelated sidebar.

3:14 PM: Updates with comment from winners.

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