'Figured I had to win': 'Catch the Ace' winner recalls moment he became a millionaire
The winner of the Hagersville 'Catch the Ace' progressive lottery said he doesn’t have many plans for the over $2 million he won on Thursday.
“Well, not really. We might go on a trip,” Richard Marshall said.
Richard Marshall said he was at home in Nanticoke, about 20 minutes from Hagersville, when he got the call letting him know he won.
“When Bob first told me, I didn’t believe him, but then the phone started ringing, and everybody knew about it, so I figured I had to win,” Marshall said.
The former commercial fisher is retired. He’s thinking of taking his wife Lorna on a trip to Switzerland, but said he only started purchasing tickets in the lottery as a way to support the community.
Crowds gather in Hagersville as tickets go on sale for the 'Catch the Ace' draw. (Terry kelly/CTV News Kitchener)
“Just to help out,” Marshall said.
The event started on May 26, 2022, raising $510 for charity in the first week. Eventually hundreds of thousands of people started showing up in town to buy tickets on Thursday’s. The benefit ballooned to over $3 million dollars raised for charity.
“Every time you donate $20, we knew $10 would never leave this community, the money was going to our hospital foundation, our food bank and the many other community causes that are being supported by the Hagersville Lions Club,” Robert Philips, President of the Hagersville Chamber of Commerce said.
“This was a way to generate more funds that we could give to the hospital. We never imagined it would be this great,” Tanya Ribbink, Co-Chair of the Hagersville Rocks Committee said.
“I don’t know how to feel about it, I wish we could go on for our good causes, but I’m also, in a way, relieved,” Dan Matten, the event chair with the Hagersville Lions Club said.
After 45 weeks of holding a draw every single Thursday, volunteers with the Lions club said they are ready for a break.
“For the last few months this has turned into a full job for me.My poor husband has been running our business on his own,” Ribbink said.
“It’s such a strain on all the volunteers, and on the town itself, but everybody was supportive,” Matten said.
“People only see what happens on Thursday, but it’s the five days leading up. It’s sorting the tickets, counting the tickets, arranging all the security and everything else that took place,” Phillips said.
Members of the Lions Club said they would love to hold another 'Catch the Ace' in the future but think it's time to step back and allow other groups in the surrounding area to give it a try.
Crowds gather in Hagersville as tickets go on sale for the 'Catch the Ace' draw. (Terry Kelly/CTV News Kitchener)
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario could not confirm if this is the largest 'Catch the Ace' prize that has ever been awarded in the province, but said it's certainly one of the top prizes awarded since the launch of the game.
‘Catch the Ace’ is a progressive raffle where players purchase tickets to guess which envelope contains the ace of spades. Until it’s found, money keeps going into the pot.
People put their names, phone numbers and an envelope number on the ticket to guess which remaining envelope holds the ace of spades. A poster shows which envelope numbers have not yet been opened and are available to choose.
Only one ticket was drawn each week.
"So exciting to see a local man win the lottery. It's awesome,” said Mayor of Haldimand County Shelly Ann Bentley. “Mr. Marshall has been a value to our community his entire life. He owned a fishery in Nanticoke, he lived out of Selkirk, and his family is here, and he's been so supportive of our community." Every week, people were lining the streets for upwards of three to four hours on Thursdays to purchase a ticket to the weekly draw.
‘Catch the Ace’ ran for 45 weeks, and as the progressive jackpot grew people from across the country came to scoop up tickets.
People travelled from across the province to purchase tickets, and some people even reportedly came from other provinces to purchase a ticket.
“I’ve heard people are flying in from Manitoba. I’ve heard people are flying in from Alberta,” Ribbink told CTV News Kitchener earlier this month.
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