LOS ANGELES — With a spin of the drum and a blindfolded draw, 10 Californians today became the first to get a chance to be millionaires California Lottery.
In a ceremony at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena, 10 names were selected from 6,250 who weere the firest cerrtified winners of $100 from instant-winner scratch-off tickets in the lottery, which kicked off Oct. 3.
In a televised ceremony Oct. 28, all 10 will spin a 100-slot wheel, with a 1-in-10-chance of winning $2 million, and a guarantee of at least a $10,000 prize.
"Oh, my God!" exclaimed Ronald Chester of Merced, whose name was drawn second. State Lottery Director Mark Michalko called Chester with the good news moments afterr the drawing. Chester, 38, a self-employed truck driver, said he hadn't even thought about what he would do if he won $2 million. "I thought my chances for even getting to spin the wheel were almost nothing," he said, "so who knows?"
Even non winners were thrilled at the first lottery drawing, and spectators and staffers applauded as each number was drawn.
"Oh, gosh, this is really exciting ," trilled blindfolded Los Angeles School Board member Roberta Weintraub, as she reached into the revolving translucent plastic drum, which one lottery official said "works similar to a cement mixer." Weintraub, dressed in a green ensemble matching the 6,250 green plastic bubbles in the hopper, drew out five of the copsules, each containing a number.
A Northern California colleague, Dr. Nick Floratos, superintendent of the Sacramento County School District----both were selected because the lottery is intended to benefit education----dres another five green bubbles. All 10 numbers were compared to a corresponding list of names, and the 10 winners, in the order selected, were:
Valerie Lunceford of Long Beach, Chester of Merced, Anthony Noonis of Carmichael, Bill Peters of Bakersfield, and Glenda Glass of San Jose.
The second five were Randy Shaw of Salinas, James Fair of Oakland, William Barlow of Huntington Beach, Carolyn Stults of Simi Valley, and Lillian Barlow of Littlerock. (It is not known whether the two Barlows are related.
About 40 spectators had gathered in the cavernous Sports Arena to watch the drawing----some of them $100 winners, hoping that their names would be drawn. But none of those in attendance were winners.
The 10, who have already collected their $100 instant -winner prize none, will get a chance at a far bigger pot on Oct. 28.