AMBOY – The jackpot for Sunday’s Amboy Depot Days 50-50 drawing wasn’t as big as last year’s, but it’s pretty doubtful the winner will be too upset.
Lauren Gunia of LaSalle still managed to win more than a hundred thousand dollars.
Gunia’s winning ticket was plucked from a tumbler full of hopes and dreams Sunday afternoon during a day when rain threatened to send crowds scurrying for cover. But the rain – much like two out of the three winners – stayed away for the most part as suspense built for the highly anticipated drawing during the city’s celebration.
Gunia, along with second-place winner Brian Tischke of Orland Park, weren’t on hand for the drawing, but third-place winner Matt Brinkmeier of Freeport was.
Brinkmeier, 41, spent $20 on tickets and will get a pretty good return on his investment: $5,000 for third place. Gunia’s winnings totaled $110,885, while Tischke got a $20,000 piece of the $221,770 jackpot.
"I'm all giddy right now," Brinkmeier said on stage after accepting the prize.
Brinkmeier works at a printing company in Elgin. He said he was going to take Monday off regardless of whether he won, since he takes the day off after Depot Days every year.
A large crowd ignored the weather during the 36th annual festival, which started Thursday and ended Sunday, and watched the awards for the 27th annual car, truck and motorcycle show before the drawing.
Depot Days Queen Abril Vazquez-Tapia drew the tickets, which were wheeled to the foot of a stage in a large, red motorized drum.
Once the winners were announced, the crowds broke, and a long line of vehicles – more than a few sports cars and show cars among them – headed north out of town, until next year.
Total jackpot and first-place winners' shares in the Amboy Depot Drawings since 2012:
• $221,770 and $110,885 in 2017
• $271,806 and $135,903 in 2016
• $298,666 and $149,333 in 2015
• $215,510 and $107,575 in 2014
• $149,006 and $74,503 in 2013
• $92,392 and $46,196 in 2012