Originally created 08/05/99

Tennessee man wins big prize



ATLANTA -- Georgians had visions of riches dancing in their heads a little prematurely: The man who bought the winning $116 million Big Game lottery ticket turned out to be from Tennessee.

Randy Kerfoot, 41, of East Ridge, Tenn., rushed to Atlanta on Wednesday to claim the prize. Then, Mr. Kerfoot told reporters, he called his boss to say, "I'm out of here."

Mr. Kerfoot bought his ticket at the Mr. Zip convenience store in Rossville, Ga., just across the state line from Chattanooga, Tenn. The retailer earns a $25,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

Mr. Kerfoot chose the cash option on his Quick Pik ticket and received almost $39 million in a lump-sum payment after taxes.

Georgia Lottery Corp. officials called it the largest payout to a single winner since the state lottery began in 1993.

Mr. Kerfoot said the first major purchase for him and his wife may be two new cars, because both drive company-provided vehicles. A new house also may be in the offing.

Mr. Kerfoot worked as parts and service director for an Infiniti dealership in Chattanooga. His wife, Sandy, will continue working for a Toyota dealership, but only until she trains someone to replace her as controller and office manager, he said.

The Kerfoots have two daughters, ages 18 and 16, and a granddaughter.

The couple checked the numbers repeatedly after Tuesday night's drawing to make sure their ticket won. Mr. Kerfoot drove to the office at 1 a.m. to check an Internet site on a computer to confirm the numbers, he said.

"It took it a while to really sink in, and I don't think anybody took their eyes off that ticket all night," he said.

The family initially decided not to spread the news to friends, Mr. Kerfoot said. But that didn't last long.

"Probably around 3 a.m. or 4 a.m., we started getting people out of bed," he said.

Some of the winnings also will go to charity, including the Ronald McDonald House, said the Kerfoots, who met as teens working for a McDonald's restaurant.