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Luck strikes twice for Clear Spring man

May 23, 2002|BY JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Richard "Butch" McPherson Sr. knew he was going to win the lottery again. It was just a matter of when.

After winning $25,000 in a scratch-off game three years ago, McPherson won $30,000 Tuesday in another scratch-off game, Slingo.

"I'm going to hit the big one. I'm going to hit the Lotto," McPherson said Wednesday.

McPherson, 61, of Spickler Road, said he's not cocky. He's just happy.

"I told them I was going to hit another one, and I did," he said.

The timing was especially fortuitous given McPherson has been searching for work since being laid off Jan. 11. A carpenter, he was working on the Robinwood Medical Center expansion until the carpentry work was switched to a subcontractor, he said.

He wasn't willing to take a significant pay cut, and his luck hasn't extended to finding a new job yet.

"Nobody wants you when you're in your 60s," he said.

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McPherson's wife, Darlene, has been supporting the family with her job at J.C. Penney at Valley Mall.

The winnings will be stored away in case her husband's unemployment benefits run out before he can find a new job, she said.

After state and federal taxes, McPherson is expected to take home approximately $19,350 of the $30,000.

He received $16,125 after taxes when he won $25,000 from a Bingo scratch-off game on Feb. 2, 1999, McPherson said.

"We made good use of the money the first time," he said. The couple bought some jewelry, a new mower and a large shed to store the mower.

"He might play his scratches, but he's not a wild spender," Darlene McPherson said.

Butch McPherson said he spends about $30 a week on lottery games. He plays Lotto, Pick 3, Pick 4 and Keno. He frequently plays The Big Game (now called Mega Millions) and rotates his play among the Maryland Lottery's scratch-off games.

He also plays Bingo at the Clear Spring fire hall twice a week.

"I done bought two fire trucks for them," McPherson joked.

On Monday, he won $15 playing Slingo, a scratch-off game similar to Bingo. He spent part of his winnings the next morning on his routine, coffee and scratch-off at the Sheetz at Huyetts Crossroads.

Then he went home to scratch the black off his two $3 Slingo games. He still has the black from his winning ticket under his fingernail.

McPherson was sitting on his living room sofa scratching off numbers and talking on the telephone to his grandson, Jeff McCauley Jr., 20, of Big Pool, when he realized he'd won $3,000.

He told his grandson - while still scratching - that if he only had a "65," he'd win $30,000.

"I looked down at the board and I had 65," he said.

Darlene McPherson said she didn't believe him when he told her on the telephone about his winnings.

"He swore on it, and I knew he was telling the truth then. He got serious," she said.

Butch McPherson has never been shy about professing his belief he would win big again.

"We laugh at him when he says that," his wife said. She would nod her head in agreement just to humor him.

McPherson's got a couple of theories about his winning. One is luck. The other is consistency.

He said he's heard people who buy an occasional ticket complain about not winning. He plays often enough that he breaks even most of the time - with the exception of his two big winnings.

"You gotta play a little bit of money to win," he said.

As for his luck, a friend on a Caribbean cruise borrowed it from him after his first big win by rubbing his arm. She won $17,600 on the cruise's big Bingo night.

Last year, he saw her on another cruise and took his luck back by patting her on the arm.

"I'm going to keep it," Butch McPherson said.

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