Forty Years ago Today…

“I dreamt it, man. I dreamt last night that I won it.”

In the early morning hours of August 22, 1974, 30-foot tractor trailer, painted in royal blue, rolled into the parking lot of Parmatown Shopping Center, on Ridgewood Drive in Parma, Ohio.

The Ohio Lottery was finally ready to conduct its first drawing. Officers from the Parma Police Department estimated nearly 4,000 people in attendance.

At 9:45 a.m. a small ceremony was held to kick off the event. Parma Mayor John Petruska opened with a few remarks, followed by State Sen. Ron Mottl, and Lottery Director John Kirkland. Shortly after 10 a.m. the drawing actually began.

Jackie Urbanek, Miss Ohio-World in the 1974 Miss World-USA pageant, presided over the placing of 1,000 balls numbered from 000 to 999, into the 9-foot tumbler.

Once the tumbler was finally filled and secure, it began to turn end over end. Finally, after a thunderous mixing, the tumbler stopped upright and ten balls fell into numbered cups at the bottom.

Local television personalities Charles “Big Chuck” Schodowski and Bob “Hoolihan” Wells drew three envelopes from a drum that determined which cups would be selected.

The first number drawn was 178. This number was for the $20 winners who would also be eligible for the $1 million drawing. Almost immediately, you could hear yelling and cheering in the crowd – already we had winners in the audience.

“I got it!” yelled Robert (Bob) Baker, of Parma. “Do you believe that?” he shouted. “I dreamt it, man. I dreamt last night that I won it.”

More winners began to push through the crowd. Reporters and cameramen rushed at them to get their names and first impressions.

The double 3-digit results came up next – 264 and 002. Matching the double-digit result was an instant $15,000 win and a chance for $300,000 in the Buckeye 300 drawing, to be held the following Thursday at the South Portico of the Ohio Capitol Building in Columbus.

The first person to ever win big and file a claim with the Ohio Lottery was Carlotta Calhoun, of East Cleveland. Mrs. Calhoun, a cost clerk at Greyhound Bus Lines, won $15,000 in that first drawing. She was at work when a co-worker came in with a slip of paper that had the winning numbers from that first drawing. Realizing she won, she immediately left the office and drove to the Lottery’s Central Headquarters in University Circle to fill out her claim form. Mrs. Calhoun’s $15,000 ticket also made her eligible for the $300,000 Buckeye 300 drawing.
By the end of the day, five winners had already contacted the Ohio Lottery and came forward to claim their $15,000 prize. Two were from Cleveland, and three others in Columbus, Ashtabula, and Springfield.

By the next day, the Lottery determined that twelve $15,000 tickets were sold and qualified for the Buckeye 300 drawing. About 25,000 $20 winners were sold as well – who were eligible for the $1 million drawing.

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