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Wisconsin friends split $22 million Powerball jackpot after 1992 promise

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV/Gray News) – Two friends from Wisconsin were finally able to make good on a promise that if either of them ever won the Powerball jackpot, they would split the winnings.

Thomas Cook called his friend Joseph Feeney, an avid fisherman, to announce that the ticket he bought at Synergy Coop in Menomonie, Wisconsin, for the June 10 drawing was the $22 million jackpot winner.

“He called me, and I said, ‘Are you jerking my bobber?’” said Feeney, according to Powerball. In 1992, the two shook hands and made the now life-changing promise.

Cook gave his two weeks notice and retired upon learning of his win, while Feeney previously retired from an area fire department.

“Congratulations to Tom, Joe, and their families,” said Wisconsin Lottery Director Cindy Polzin in a news release. “The power of friendship and a handshake has paid off. I’m thrilled for them – their lucky day has arrived!”

Choosing the cash option of approximately $16.7 million, Cook and Feeney each took home about $5.7 million after federal and state taxes.

The men say they hope to take their wives on a road trip, like one they previously took – though perhaps in an upgraded vehicle this time.

Copyright 2020 WMTV via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

The two friends made a promise in 1992 that if either of them ever won the Powerball jackpot, they would split the winnings.

Wis powerball

MADISON, Wis. – Friends Thomas Cook and Joseph Feeney shook hands in 1992, swearing if either one won the Powerball jackpot, they would split the winnings…no matter who bought the ticket. Tom, of Elk Mound, and Joe, of Menomonie, made good on that handshake when Tom realized a Powerball ticket he bought at Synergy Coop Exit 45 on 2100 County Rd. B in Menomonie for the June 10 drawing was the $22 Million jackpot winner.

After learning of the win, Tom called Joe to tell him the news and Joe, an avid fisherman, couldn’t quite believe it. “He called me and I said, ‘are you jerking my bobber?'” said Joe. Tom gave his two weeks-notice and retired upon learning of his win. Joe is previously retired from an area fire department.

Neither have any extravagant plans for the winnings but are looking forward to enjoying more family time. “We can pursue what we feel comfortable with. I can’t think of a better way to retire,” said Tom. They do look forward to some traveling. Previously, Tom, Joe, and their wives took a road trip together in a small PT Cruiser convertible. For future road trips, they plan to upgrade their vehicle.

“Congratulations to Tom, Joe, and their families,” exclaimed Wisconsin Lottery Director Cindy Polzin. “The power of friendship and a handshake has paid off. I’m thrilled for them—their lucky day has arrived!”

Choosing the cash option of approximately $16.7 Million, Tom and Joe each took home about $5.7 Million after federal and state taxes. This win is Wisconsin’s 18th Powerball jackpot since Wisconsin debuted the game in 1992. This is the first Wisconsin Powerball jackpot won since March 2019 when Wisconsin had a record-setting $768.4 Million jackpot winner. Wisconsin is now tied for fourth on the all-time list of most frequently winning states.

MADISON, Wis. – Friends Thomas Cook and Joseph Feeney shook hands in 1992, swearing if either one won the Powerball jackpot, they would split the winnings…no matter who bought the ticket. Tom, of Elk Mound, and Joe, of Menomonie, made good on that handshake when Tom realized a Powerball ticket he bought at Synergy Coop Exit 45 on 2100 County Rd. B in Menomonie for the June 10 drawing was the $22 Million jackpot winner. ]]>