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Lotto winner seeks anonymity -- in a town of 27 people

A woman from a tiny Colorado town won a quarter-million dollars playing the lotto. She tried to keep out of the spotlight, but that will be difficult, as her town has a population of just 27 people. Photo courtesy of The Colorado Lottery
1 of 2 | A woman from a tiny Colorado town won a quarter-million dollars playing the lotto. She tried to keep out of the spotlight, but that will be difficult, as her town has a population of just 27 people. Photo courtesy of The Colorado Lottery

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March 17 (UPI) -- A quarter-million dollars richer, a Colorado woman is trying to avoid the limelight after the big lotto payout. But that might be hard given her circumstances.

Joanie -- she asked officials at 100X The Cash Bonus Draw in Colorado not to use her last name -- is a regular player, but her biggest payout to date was $500.

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That all changed Wednesday when she won the $250,000 prize.

"Joanie found out she was the winner in a slightly unusual way -- by certified mail," lotto officials said from their Facebook account. "She was still suspicious that the whole thing was a scam, so she was pleasantly surprised to walk into the Fort Collins claim center and find out she really was the big winner."

Wary of the publicity, she asked that lotto officials not show her face in the photo op from the big payout.

She acknowledged, however, that it will be difficult to remain anonymous given her hometown of Cowdrey, just south of the Wyoming border, has a population of just 27 people.

"So even though she hid her face for photos, she said, 'Everyone will know!'" lottery officials said.

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The winner of the largest prize so far this year also tried to stay out of the limelight. Edwin Castro won the $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot this year from a ticket purchased at a Los Angeles gas station.

Castro asked not to appear publicly and wished to remain private but issued a statement through the California Lottery stating "the real winner" is the state's public school system as it will receive $156.3 million -- the most earned from a single jackpot -- from his win.

Joanie raises alpacas and officials said she'll likely buy more. She also hopes to establish a trust fund supported by the winnings.

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