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Back in the day, July 30, 1994: Just 9 days after Nebraska's first Powerball sales, couple win $50M
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Back in the day, July 30, 1994: Just 9 days after Nebraska's first Powerball sales, couple win $50M

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Lyle and Dianne Fleharty of Hastings opened a press conference at the offices of the Nebraska Lottery by telling how they watched on television as the numbers 1, 2, 8, 21, 31 and the Powerball number of 18 were drawn the night of July 30. "Nobody picks 1 and 2," Fleharty said he'd told his wife. 

In the hours after the Powerball drawing 27 years ago today, lottery officials used their computer to trace the $50.1 million winning ticket to Kwik Stop No. 3 in North Platte. 

Stan Tegler of Hastings, who said he was married to the potential winner's sister, told the Hastings Tribune that Dianne and Lyle Fleharty bought the winning ticket while in North Platte to watch their son play in a baseball tournament. 

The Hastings couple, both natives of Nebraska, opened a press conference four days later at the offices of the Nebraska Lottery by telling how they watched on television as the numbers 1, 2, 8, 21, 31 and the Powerball number of 18 were drawn the night of July 30. Fleharty had chided his wife earlier in the day for picking the numbers 1 and 2 on each of the five $1 tickets they bought. They said it was the first time they had entered the Powerball lottery, which began in Nebraska just nine days earlier, on July 21.

"Nobody picks 1 and 2," Fleharty said he'd told his wife. "She told me, 'This is my ticket. I'll do it however I want.' "

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In the days leading up to the press conference, the Flehartys had their telephone number changed and could not be reached for comment. 

"I needed to get my thoughts in order," Lyle said. The experience has been "almost incomprehensible," he said.

After the win, Dianne Fleharty suggested they buy siding for the house, and the family joked about other needs — a garage, a new driveway, a sprinkler system.

Steven Seline, the Flehartys newly hired tax and estate lawyer, said he was contacted by the Flehartys at the Omaha offices of the Kutak Rock law firm. 

"Not only are the Flehartys lucky," Seline said, "but the lottery is lucky to have them win it. They are really nice, happy people."

The first of 20 annual payments to the Flehartys — $1,680,261.85 after taxes — were to begin two weeks after claiming the prize, acting Lottery Director Jim Quinn said.

Let's take a look back at some past Nebraska Powerball winners.

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