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Des Moines woman wins big in Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing

Marla Ballard's ticket was just one of three nationwide to reach the game's second-level prize.
Credit: Iowa Lottery

CLIVE, Iowa — Marla Ballard has a system when it comes to buying lottery tickets. As it turns out, that system is paying off: Ballard won a $1 million Mega Millions prize on Tuesday.

"Look at me, I'm shaking. I guess it's starting to hit," the 60-year-old Des Moines resident told lottery officials on Thursday as she claimed her prize. "I'm kind of overwhelmed right now."

While Ballard missed the Mega Ball, she matched all five white balls to claim a $1 million payout. Her ticket was just one of three nationwide to reach the game's second-level prize. 

Ballard's lottery win wouldn't have been possible without her neighbor, Ron Hubbard. The pair have a system worked out: once the jackpot reaches $100 million, she gives him money to buy her tickets while he buys his own. 

"He goes to the store, picks them up, and brings them over when he comes back home," Ballard said. 

This time, the ticket was purchased at the QuikTrip on 3941 14th St. in Des Moines. 

After Hubbard realized the winning ticket was sold in Des Moines, he promptly visited Ballard to see if she had struck gold. 

"He was over first thing this morning, too," Ballard said. "I'm like, 'Who'd be knocking at our door this early in the morning?'"

As of Thursday, Ballard hasn't decided what she'll do with her winnings. 

Tuesday's winning numbers were: 1-7-23-38-55 and Mega Ball 2. The Megaplier number was 3. 

Since no one matched all six numbers to win the jackpot, the big prize now sits at an estimated $254 million annuity, $133.7 million lump-sum option for Friday's drawing.

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