Jim and Dawn Krenik

Jim and Dawn Krenik collected their prize on Friday.

MONTGOMERY, Minn. — A butcher in Minnesota waited three days to tell his wife they had won a lottery jackpot.

And after the delay, he still made her figure it out.

Jim Krenik of Montgomery, about 45 miles south of Minneapolis, realized last Tuesday he matched all five numbers in the Minnesota State Lottery Gopher 5 drawing last Monday.

But he was too busy at his business, Krenik's Meat Processing, to make the two-hour trek to immediately claim his $120,000 prize. He decided to keep the fact he'd hit the jackpot a secret and surprise his wife.

Up until an hour before they departed Friday for the Minnesota Lottery headquarters outside of Minneapolis, Dawn Krenik thought she was accompanying her husband on a trip to purchase equipment for their business.

Even then, Jim the prankster didn't actually tell his wife. He asked Dawn to check the tickets he had collected over the past few weeks for any winners and waited for a scream of delight.

After taxes, the Kreniks took home $80,000. They celebrated with a nice dinner and are putting the rest into a retirement account, Jim said.

Jim has told only two other family members about his big win. He's curious to see how long it takes for the news to reach other family and friends, he said. State lottery officials announced his win Monday afternoon.

The Kreniks weren't regular lottery winners until a few months ago. Jim decided he'd set aside $100, pick his own numbers and buy a $1 ticket every time he stopped at a gas station, and not look at the tickets until he had spent all $100.

“It was my experiment,” he told the Mankato, Minnesota Free Press.

After his first 100 tickets didn't yield a single win, he decided to try for better luck with another $100. He'd purchased around 25 tickets when a Facebook ad tempted him to look at them early.

Dawn spotted the ad announcing a jackpot-winning ticket had been purchased at the Kwik Trip on Highway 60 in Faribault. Knowing that's where Jim had purchased many of his tickets, she printed off a copy of the ad and Jim was alone when he found it and checked his tickets the next day.

The hunter likened the feeling of realizing he won to the thrill of seeing a buck through the scope of his gun.

“I bagged a buck (this week), too,” he said. “I guess I am a lucky guy.”

Goodrich writes for the Mankato, Minnesota Free Press.

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