AMBOY – The “for sale” sign is coming out of Tyler Stenzel’s 2003 Chevy Silverado truck Sunday.
The Amboy resident can keep his truck now that he’s $74,503 richer.
His ticket, No. 4270, was selected in the Depot Days 50/50 raffle drawing. Sunday’s grand prize was a record for the popular drawing, besting last year’s record prize of $46,196. In total, the 50/50 committee collected $149,006 in 50/50 sales.
Stenzel, 25, was hanging out near the motorcycles portion of the car show when his name was announced over speakers placed throughout the event area.
The grand prize winner did not have to be present, but Stenzel came to the stage about 15 minutes after hearing his name and was handed a check.
“I couldn’t breathe; I couldn’t believe it,” Stenzel said. “I didn’t think it was real. I’ve been joking, like everybody else this week, that I was going to win the money.”
Stenzel’s first priority is to pay off the loan on his truck he was advertising to sell during the car show, and then to buy about 20 of his buddies a beer. After that, he was uncertain of his plans.
“I’m speechless,” he said. “I still don’t know what to say.”
The winner was sold at one of the white 50/50 sheds no more than 30 yards away from the main stage this weekend.
Stenzel spent $20 on tickets Saturday and $20 more Sunday.
“It was an elderly lady who sold it to me,” Stenzel said. “She was telling me she never gets to know if she sold the winning ticket. Well, she knows now. She sold the winning ticket to me.”
Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle are used to fund the Depot Museum and other nonprofit endeavors in Amboy. A committee will vote later to determine which causes receive money.
“Every dollar stays in Amboy,” said Garth Dallam, who with his wife Linda, is an event organizer.
Despite temperatures near 90 degrees, the 50/50 drawing drew thousands of people around the main stage in front of the museum.
Dozens of car show winners were announced and trophies handed out, before the big drawing, including one for longest distance traveled to a participant from Wesley Chapel, Fla., which is in the Tampa Bay area.
After the grand prize, two more $500 winners were picked: Nicci Leffelman of DeKalb, formerly of Amboy, and Jimmi Troxell of Dixon.
The car show featured 484 cars and motorcycles, which fell short of the record of 575, Dallam said.
“It’s not the biggest car show, but definitely the biggest 50/50 giveaway,” he said.
Not everybody was a winner, but it was worth the trip from Sterling for Billie Jo Glazier, her husband and her daughter. The trio bought slushies as they waited for the winning ticket to be drawn by Miss Amboy Lindsay Hart.
She spent $65 on raffle tickets, and bought $120 more for other friends and family.
“It’s our first time here, and we’ll be back,” said Glazier, who held a handful of losing raffle stubs.
The event continues to grow as more former Amboy residents see Depot Days as a homecoming, Mayor Tom Nausman said.
If 50/50 sales continue to grow, the raffle committee will look at making a purchase before next year’s Aug. 24 drawing, said Jeff Gerdes, co-chairman of the committee.
“We’re going to need a bigger tumbler.”