Northern Michigan resident claims $80 million Powerball jackpot

 Phillip and Dawn Chippewa of Suttons Bay claimed an $80 million Powerball jackpot.
Phillip and Dawn Chippewa of Suttons Bay claimed an $80 million Powerball jackpot. (WJRT)
Published: Oct. 23, 2019 at 12:51 PM EDT
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(10/23/2019) - A Suttons Bay man has a big shopping list after claiming an $80 million Powerball jackpot on Wednesday.

Phillip Chippewa, 54, matched all of the winning numbers -- 01-09-22-36-68 -- and the Powerball 22 in the Sept. 21 drawing to win the big prize.

Chippewa, who is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, bought the winning ticket at the Barrels & Barrels Party Store, located at 1375 SW Bayshore Drive in Suttons Bay.

He usually plays when the jackpot increases to a big prize.

"Any time I see the jackpot getting up there I buy a few tickets and hope for the best," said Chippewa. "I stopped at Barrels and Barrels the day of the drawing and almost walked out without buying the tickets, but at the last minute, I decided to get four plays."

He didn't check his tickets until the following day after his sister-in-law let his wife know someone bought a winning ticket at Barrels & Barrels Party Store.

"My first thought was: 'He better have bought some tickets,'" Chippewa's wife, Dawn, said. "After I got home, we were doing our usual Sunday night routine when my sister sent another text to ask if we'd checked Phillip's tickets. Until then I had forgotten all about the news of a big winner."

Phillip had put the tickets in his truck after buying them. It only took one glance to realize he was the big winner.

"I ran out to take a look at them and I didn't have to look past the first line to see I was the winner," he said. "Of course, my wife and son thought I was playing a trick, so my son pulled the numbers up on his phone and read them out loud while Dawn and I looked at the ticket together. By the time he was done, we both had tears in our eyes."

The family headed back to Barrels & Barrels to scan their tickets and confirm what they already knew.

"As soon as we walked in the clerk asked: 'Are you guys the big winners?'" said Chippewa. "I handed him the ticket and said, 'We're about to find out.' When the terminal printed a receipt saying to contact the Lottery, we knew our lives had changed."

They went back home and shared the news with the rest of their family. Phillip called a family meeting and let all seven of his children and 21 grandchildren know.

"There were a lot of emotions in that room because we've always put our family first and it hasn't always been easy, but all of them were so happy for us," he said.

Phillip said he may not have had a lot of money, but he's always been "rich with family."

"Now, I have all the money I'll ever need and can help my family for generations," he said. "That means everything to me."

The Chippewas chose to receive the $80 million prize as a lump sum payment of $55.3 million. That equates to about $42 million after taxes.

Phillip plans to buy new homes for himself and all of his children, a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a white Dodge Challenger. He plans to continue sharing his winnings with family.

"Winning is life changing, but it's not going to change who we are," said Phillip. "My wife and I have been together for 25 years, we've always helped others and we're both still working."

The Chippewas' prize is the fourth Powerball jackpot won in Michigan since the game expanded to the state in 2010. The largest prize was Lapeer resident Donald Lawson's $337 million jackpot in 2012.