Canada
Alberta rig workers hit lotto jackpot

Lottery winners pose for a photo with a big cheque. Fifteen members of a CanElson rig crew shared a $25 million MAX Millions lottery prize won after they purchased a ticket in Edson, Alberta.

Credits: IAN KUCERAK/QMI AGENCY

KEVIN MAIMANN | QMI AGENCY

EDMONTON - Fifteen Alberta oil rig workers just became millionaires.

A rig crew at CanElson Drilling Inc. near Edson, west of Edmonton, won half of last Friday's $50-million Lotto Max jackpot, leaving each crew member with $1.67 million to take home.

The whole crew plans to stay on the job, but not before they take a two-month break.

Rig manager Keith Gould was sitting in his office at 10:30 p.m. Nov. 2 when he checked the numbers online. He couldn't believe his eyes, so he called in a co-worker to take a look.

"I walked into the shack, (Gould) is sitting in the corner with his arms crossed, shaking. He told me to read the numbers off to him. I read them off and said, ‘So what's the big deal?' And he passed me the ticket," recalls Dustin Gibson.

"I went through the numbers and ... and I dropped to the ground, right down to my knees. I couldn't believe it."

Joshua Picard was 70 feet in the air in an oil derrick when a co-worker called him down to give him the news. Picard plans to put most of the cash away after he buys his friends new snowboard gear and carves up some mountains.

A trip to Las Vegas is also in the works, but he vows not to gamble it away.

"I'm glad I won it now when I'm 27 and not when I was 18," he said.

Most of the crew said they will use the money to pay off debts and mortgages and help out family, while Tyrone Genge plans to take his wife Johanne on an overdue honeymoon.

Gould said the crew has been pooling tickets for a long time, and he's happy to share the prize with his pals.

"Having all these guys involved makes it that much sweeter," he said.

The winners hail from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland.

The other $25-million winning ticket was purchased in BC, while four of last week's $1-million Maxmillions winners are from Edmonton.

Next week's Lotto Max, to be held Friday, will offer a jackpot worth approximately $37 million.

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