A West Bend man knew his "Super Crossword" instant-scratch ticket was a winner, but he didn't know how much he had won until he finished scratching it off.
Randy Carlson, 56, said he had already completed nine words in the game with two more letters left to scratch off.
"And I go, 'This can't happen,' and sure as shooting, here I hit another letter to make 10 words," Carlson said. "It was pretty cool."
Carlson, an assistant manager at a convenience store in West Bend, claimed the 16th of 34 top prizes of $50,000 available in the Iowa Lottery's Super Crossword scratch game. He purchased his winning ticket Friday at Kampen Foods, 113 Broadway Ave., in West Bend.
Carlson said his wife, Karen, didn't believe him when he sent a picture message of his winning ticket to her. Karen works for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and has been stationed in New Jersey since November helping people affected by Hurricane Sandy.
"What kind of prank are you pulling?" Carlson said his wife asked.
Carlson said he double-checked his winning ticket and also had a clerk at the store where he works verify it. He claimed his prize Monday at the Iowa Lottery's regional office in Storm Lake.
Carlson said he plans to use his winnings to help fix up some older vehicles he owns and he'll save the rest.
"You take the chance and like I did I got lucky and happened to be the right person at that time at that checkout to buy that one ticket," he said.
Super Crossword is a $5 scratch game. Players win a prize by uncovering at least three complete words in either puzzle or the complete bonus word in the play area on each ticket. The overall odds of winning a prize in the game are 1 in 3.69.
Eighteen top prizes of $50,000 are still up for grabs in Super Crossword, as well as 38 prizes of $5,000, 55 prizes of $500 and hundreds of prizes of $100.