Yankton friends claim $2 million Powerball prize in decades-old pact

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 12:42 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - South Dakota Lottery officials say two friends have become the state’s newest millionaires, thanks to a decades-spanning pact they made.

Emil Goodteacher and Donna Knodel claimed a $2 million prize from the August 28 Powerball drawing. Lottery officials say the friends also won the game’s second prize which doubled due to the Powerplay.

“We’ve been friends for a long time,” Knodel said. “We both kind of have a pact. If anyone wins, especially if it’s a big one, we split it.”

Goodteacher and Knodel made a pact in the 80′s. Before winning big this year, their largest reward was $400.

Knodel had heard rumblings of the $2 million ticket being sold at the Hy-Vee, and at that moment, she began to realize that they may have a life-changing prize.

“We talked about it then I heard that there was a big winner from Hy-Vee,” Knodel said. “It’s like ‘wait a minute here, are you sure it’s us?’”

With the prize claimed, Goodteacher and Knodel have some big plans ahead. Each noted that they will buy a new vehicle and share the wealth with their families.

“I’m 69-years-old and I’ve never owned a house,” Goodteacher said. “I want to buy a house. I’ve also always drove used vehicles, so I want to buy a new vehicle. I also have children and grandchildren who I want to share it with.”

“I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m going to be careful with it,” Knodel said. “I need to buy a car and my house needs to be fixed up. I might start with that. I also have children who I’ll help bailout of some school loans.”

The friends noted they will continue to play.

“We bought some tickets today,” Goodteacher said. “You can’t win if you don’t play.”

The winning ticket was purchased at Hy-Vee Food Store, located on 2100 Broadway Ave. in Yankton. The retail location will receive a $25,000 retailer incentive for selling the winning ticket.

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