Angler Reels in a Whopper: $20,000 Scratch-off Prize

Jeffrey Howell_Gold Rush_webJeffrey Howell of Baltimore celebrates his $20,000 scratch-off win with his wife Renee (center) and sister Darleen Folk.

Hooks a win with $100,000 Gold Rush instant ticket

An avid fisherman who loves nothing better than reeling in Rockfish on the Chesapeake Bay or White Marlin off Ocean City just caught a whopper – a $20,000 Maryland Lottery scratch-off prize.

Jeffrey Howell of Baltimore hooked the win with the new $100,000 Gold Rush scratch-off that launched Jan. 25.

“It’s like a dream,” he said. “I was just watching ‘Gold Rush’ on demand.”

The 50-year-old father of five spends his working hours as a welder and his off hours, in winter, enjoying TV shows like “Wicked Tuna” and “Gold Rush.”

His lucky day arrived on Valentine’s Day. He finished watching “Gold Rush” and set off for the Mars Super Market at 7848 Wise Avenue in Baltimore to buy deli meat, bread and snacks to pack for lunches. When he passed the Lottery scratch-offs, one specific ticket caught his eye.

“Gold Rush stood out, almost bigger than life,” he said. “In my mind, I thought, ‘I need to get a ticket.’”

The longtime scratch-off player usually buys two different scratch-offs at a time but changed his routine this night.

“Something told me to get two of them,” he said.

His future son-in-law bought the $100,000 Gold Rush ticket numbered 23 and Jeffrey bought numbers 24 and 25. He typically scratches them off at home but after watching his future relative scratch a ticket, Jeffrey pulled his two scratch-offs out of his pocket and did the same with different results! Stopping part of the way through scratching off the ticket, he scanned its barcode to see if it was a winner. When the ticket checker delivered news of his win, the store clerk confirmed the $20,000 prize.

“I said, ‘Oh, my God! This can’t be true!’” recalled the grandfather of 10. “I put the ticket in my inside coat pocket close by my heart and finished shopping.”

He texted his middle daughter about the win and she met the group at home to see their mom’s reaction to the news. Jeffrey hid his winning ticket in his Bible and credits his parents, who have passed away, for sending him the win.

Renee, his wife of 32 years, happily accompanied Jeffrey to claim the prize at Lottery headquarters along with his sister, Darleen Folk, and 10-year-old grandson. He plans to spend part of his prize on a Harley Davidson motorcycle and to join Team Mason aboard Reel Vibrations for the White Marlin Open in Ocean City in August.

The $100,000 Gold Rush ticket launched in January, and all five of its $100,000 top prizes are still waiting to be found at Lottery retailers across the state. There also are seven more $20,000 prizes.