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A Quarter-Century of Nebraska Pick 5

“Nebraska’s Game” is celebrating its silver anniversary this month.

Pick 5 logo

The first tickets for Nebraska Pick 5, the daily Nebraska Lottery Lotto game, went on sale on April 24, 1995 and the first drawing was held a few days later on April 29. The jackpot started lower than it does now—$30,000, compared to $50,000 today—but people couldn’t wait to start playing and winning.

In the past 25 years, we’ve had 710 Nebraska Pick 5 jackpot winners. Of those, 195 were $30,000 winners, 38 were $50,000 and 477 won after the jackpot rolled at least once.  

All the proceeds from Nebraska Pick 5 stay here, and all the winning tickets are sold at Nebraska Lottery retailers. After 25 years, Nebraska Pick 5 continues to give away thousands of dollars to players and generate funds for good causes in our state.

The first Pick 5 winner was Linda Babcock of Maxwell. She bought her ticket at Kwik-Stop in North Platte and won the very first $30,000 jackpot.

Our most recent winner was Archie Mickles of Lincoln who won $50,000 in the April 14 drawing.

Archie Mickles of Lincoln holds up a large check reading "$50,000"

Between Linda and Archie are hundreds of stories of Nebraska Pick 5 winners.

On Thursday, November 7, 1996, Veronica Jane Olgesby of Omaha bought a Nebraska Pick 5 ticket from the Convenient Food Mart at in Omaha for what she thought was the Thursday night drawing. Her ticket was actually for the Friday night drawing. After checking the Wednesday night winning numbers, she threw her ticket away and purchased another using the same numbers. Saturday morning, store manager Tom Brazil noticed that two $30,000 winning tickets were sold at his store. Remembering that Veronica had thrown a ticket away, Brazil went dumpster diving, found the ticket, and returned it to her. The David Letterman Show asked Brazil to appear on the show. “No thank you,” he replied. “I couldn’t keep it. That’s the way I was brought up.”

In  2018, Margaret Frerichs went out to pick up a Pick 5 drawing with the numbers she always played. The clerk printed out two Pick 5 tickets with the same numbers by mistake. Instead of buying one and leaving the other behind, Margaret decided to purchase both of them and ended up splitting the $126,000 jackpot with herself after both tickets matched the winning numbers. We gave Margaret two big checks because, hey, when’s the next time we can do that?

Margaret Frerichs holds up two large checks.

After the February 27 drawing this year, we saw we had two winners from the same store and thought we might have another situation like Margaret’s. What are the chances of two winning tickets with the same numbers, both sold at the same Hy-Vee in Omaha for the same drawing and being two different people?

Pretty good, it turns out. On February 28, the first winner came in. They wanted to be unnamed, but we asked if they might have another ticket for the same drawing. They said they didn’t, but we asked them to go home and check. Then, on March 4, Raymond Aschoff of Omaha came in to claim the other half of the $94,000 jackpot. He definitely wasn’t the same winner from the week before, which left us stunned.

Raymond Aschoff and his wife Bernie hold up a large check.

Our biggest winner of the year so far was Brian Pearson of Kimball who won a $280,000 jackpot in March. Brian said he chose his numbers in honor of his wife who he lost a few years before. Two of the numbers in his winning ticket were her birthday and the rest were the date she died.

Brian Pearson holds up a large check.

“She’s my guardian angel,” Brian said.

The Pick 5 jackpot starts at $50,000 and grows by $4,000 each time it’s not won. Around three times a year, for a month at a time, the jackpot grows by $10,000 each time it rolls. Tickets can be purchased only at Nebraska Lottery retailers and all the money stays in Nebraska, to the tune of around $60 million for our beneficiary programs, like the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the Nebraska State Fair, the Education Improvement Fund and the Compulsive Gamblers Assistance Fund.

We’ve made a whole lot of winners over the past 25 years, and we’re looking forward to seeing what happens over the next 25.

April 23, 2020


  • What happened to the old format. We can’t find where you put the numbers of the winning tickets each day. My wife liked to check Pick 5 every so often to see how it is doing. Please explain how to navigate in the new format.

    Comment by Bud Micek on July 28, 2020 at 10:20 am
  • Hi Bud, you can still check the winning numbers on our website at this address:

    You can also get to that page by clicking on the “Games” button on our website and then clicking on “Lotto”.


    Comment by Sam Craig on July 28, 2020 at 11:45 am
  • Why is it that I have had the same numbers for the start of pick 5 and just can’t win I would have quit the game a long time ago but my husband won’t give it up

    Comment by Char Breuer on January 3, 2021 at 11:10 am
  • Hi Char, there are more than 500,000 possible winning combinations in Pick 5 and in 25 years there have been less than 10,000 drawings. No matter what numbers you play, the outcome is always random and each combination has only a one in 501,942 chance of hitting the top prize. You can view our odds here if you’d like. We appreciate you playing, but we recommend only playing if it’s still fun.

    Comment by Sam Craig on January 4, 2021 at 8:28 am
  • Hi Char and everyone else,
    Just so you know since you folks haven’t won anything with Pick 5 they have added another 2 numbers so your odds of winning anything are
    less than before. Now you are less likely to win a free ticket much less than anything more. Like you folks I have played pick 5 for a lot of
    years and now I can no longer see any reason to continue to do so. As a matter of fact I just can’t bring myself to play any of the Nebraska lottery any more since it appears they really don’t want anyone to win even a little. I do wish you folks luck, however, I believe I will make my own and keep my money and that way I’ll come out more ahead than spending it on something that I don’t have much chance of even breaking even. Good bye Nebraska lottery!!!!!

    Comment by Steven Gaston on August 17, 2023 at 3:33 pm


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