Gaston couple did ‘the happy dance’ after winning $1 million lottery prize

A Gaston County couple “started doing the happy dance” when they realized they’d won a million dollars in the state lottery this week.

Kathy Meeler of Dallas said she bought four $200 Million Blowout scratch-off game tickets at QSC Food Mart on South Main Street in Stanley on Sunday night.

“I got two tickets for him, and decided to get two tickets for me,” she told lottery officials, referring to her husband, Ronnie. “When I got home, I let him choose his own tickets. I held them up and said, ‘Eenie meenie miney mo.’ 

Ronnie scratched his $20 tickets but didn’t win anything. Then it was Kathy’s turn.

“She matched the number 40 and said, ‘I think I have a winner,’ ” Ronnie Meeler told lottery officials. “It felt like she was scratching so slowly after that!”

When Kathy finished and realized she won a million dollars, she was in shock. She beat odds of one in 817,500.

“I had to take the ticket outside and hold it up just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things,” she said.

The excitement of winning kept both from going to sleep. “It’s been a long night,” Kathy Meeler said. “We had to pinch each other this morning just to make sure it was real.”

The couple drove to lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Monday morning to claim their prize. They had the choice of taking a $1 million annuity that has 20 payments of $50,000 a year, or a lump sum of $600,000. They chose the lump sum. After required state and federal tax withholdings, they took home $416,599.

The Meelers plan to buy a new house with the money. Kathy Meeler also wants to get a canary Dodge Charger.

The game launched in October 2014 with four top prizes of $4 million and 16 prizes of $1 million. One $4 million prize and three $1 million prizes remain.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak