Crookston man scratches off $200,000 winning Minnesota Lottery ticket

He bought the winning ticket at Crookston's Holiday Station Store

Times Report
Wearing his new Minnesota Lottery t-shirt, Kim Christopherson displays a copy of his $200,000 winning 'Red-Hot Riches' scratch-off ticket at Minnesota Lottery headquarters in Roseville.

Last Saturday morning, after buying his daily Minnesota Lottery scratch-off tickets at Crookston’s Holiday Station Store during his morning walk, Kim Christopherson knew early on as he scratched his way down the large “Red Hot Riches” scratch-off game that he’d at least be getting his money back on the $10 ticket.

That’s because his initial scratching revealed a couple of small fire symbols, and then a couple more. Christopherson at that point knew he had a winner, that he’d make his $10 back and then some.

But then things started to get interesting. And as he continued to scratch further and further down the ticket, things got extremely interesting. Once he scratched the entire ticket, Christopherson started counting. He counted 10 fire symbols. He counted, he estimates, around 20 more times, and each time, the total was 10.

The large, bold numbers and dollar signs and exclamation points higher up on the ticket made it clear what Christopherson had just done. He’d beaten the odds, 1 in 391,191 to be exact, and won $200,000.

He counted the fire symbols a few more times. He put the ticket in a safe, secure place. Then he took it out and commenced with counting the symbols a few more times. Finally convinced he’d in fact won, he started calling his siblings scattered across the country, and his nephew, Mike Christopherson, in Crookston. He was so excited and breathless, Mike first felt compelled to ask his uncle if he was OK. His uncle was obviously much better than OK.

After some online research and a call to Minnesota Lottery headquarters in Roseville, it was determined that it was best for Christopherson to drive there in person to claim his prize, and his nephew drove him down there on Tuesday to do just that. After filling out some paperwork and waiting for a bit in the “Winner’s Room,” Christopherson was presented with a Minnesota Lottery t-shirt, and, of course, his winning check. After state and federal taxes, he takes home $137,500. Lottery officials told him they would have presented him with a large, ceremonial check and taken a photo, but due to some COVID-19 protocols still being observed, that wasn’t possible.

Christopherson has bought a lot of scratch-off tickets over the years…over the decades. He said, half-jokingly, that his big prize probably puts him about even financially with the Minnesota Lottery, considering all of the losing tickets he’s bought. But he’s certainly not complaining.

“Things are pretty great in Kim land right now,” he said.