Bells Store Holds Party After Selling $40M Powerball Ticket - - No One Gets You Closer

Bells Store Holds Party After Selling $40M Powerball Ticket


BELLS, TX -- A celebration was held this afternoon at the store that sold the ticket for the first Powerball jackpot ever won in the state of Texas.

Even with his new tax bill, a Ravenna man still has nearly 20 million reasons to jump for joy. But the life-changing windfall hasn't stopped his routine of playing the lottery.

Seven weeks ago, Fannin County resident Paul McDowell bought the lottery ticket that hit a $40-million jackpot, and employees say he still visits the Lone Star/On the Run store in Bells.

"He came in yesterday and bought tickets as a matter of fact and he bought some more tickets today," says employee Tabitha Burns.

"He's got him a tractor and a backhoe and three new cars, just spending a little bit here and there just things that he could really use," says friend John Henard.

McDowell claimed the prize in Austin and quit his job at Waste Management in June. Last week, a neighbor says he cleared brush for her with a new backhoe.

"It was piled up out there and so Paul came over and asked my husband if it would hurt his feelings for him to move it for us," says neighbor Rose Grimes.

"He walks every morning with me and we get out and walk our two miles and he hasn't changed that up," says Henard.

Workers celebrated having the winning ticket during an event with the Texas Lottery on Wednesday afternoon. The store gets one-percent of the prize, which comes to $400,000.

"The name I didn't recognize but the second I saw him, I sure knew who it was," says Burns.

Owner Bill Douglass says 43 percent of the store's check will go to taxes. They're setting aside most of the rest to cover health care costs for 300 employees in their chain. Douglass says the cost will go way up starting next year under President Obama's healthcare laws.

"It's a once in a lifetime event, so we're excited for the people in Bells, and that's why we're throwing the party," says Douglass.

Douglass says a total of $10,000 will go toward a new park pavilion in Bells, wrapping up an exciting time for the town.

"There was the big rumor he was single and I'm sure that every woman in town was wanting to know where he lived," says resident Kim Jaynes.

"I thought about playing it and I probably should have and I might have won it," says Jean Porter.

Texas has only had Powerball for three years. Douglass says this is he biggest jackpot ever at his stores and some employees got bonus checks. In fact, it may be Texoma's biggest jackpot ever. McDowell told us last month that he has been playing the lottery for more than 20 years.