Zebulon man wins $1.1 million NC Lottery prize

aspecht@newsobserver.comMarch 5, 2013 

— Call him two-hit Homer of the One Stop Shop.

Homer Buffaloe, a tobacco farmer from Wake County, won more than $1.1 million in the Carolina Cash 5 lottery game Sunday, the largest amount ever won by a single ticket – and the second time Buffaloe has bought a winning Cash 5 ticket from the One Stop Shop gas station on Mitchell Mill Road.

In November 2010, Buffaloe claimed half of a $408,066 jackpot. Add that to Sunday’s winnings of $1,144,821 and Buffaloe has made more than $1.5 million playing the Cash 5 game at the gas station just a half-mile from his house. He received a check for $778,479 on Monday, after state and federal taxes were withheld.

According to the N.C. Lottery, only one Carolina Cash 5 jackpot has ever been larger than Buffaloe's. Three players split a $1,355,000 jackpot when three tickets matched all five numbers in the May 5, 2011 drawing.

At the gas station Tuesday, customers speculated Buffaloe must be farming four-leaf clovers in his backyard.

“I can't believe it. I stopped buying tickets here after he won the first time,” said Frances King, a friend of Buffaloe’s. “I figured, what are the odds there’d be another winner here?”

Buffaloe beat 1-in-575,757 odds to win Sunday’s grand prize. But no one has figured the odds of the same person winning twice buying tickets from the same store.

“He certainly has the right to feel like he’s been blessed,” said Leonard Stefanski, a statistics professor at N.C. State University.

As for Buffaloe, he couldn't be reached by phone or at his Zebulon home on Tuesday. But folks at the One Stop Shop said he visited there at least once Tuesday morning, per his usual routine.

Larry Fowler, a Zebulon farmer, was hoping to catch Buffaloe Tuesday afternoon when he stopped by the One Stop Shop to buy two Carolina Cash 5 tickets.

“I need him to help me pick the numbers,” Fowler said. “He must be the luckiest man in the world.”

Specht: 919-829-4826

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