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Press release

May 5, 2001

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May, 2001 | Winners Stories

The "Big Spin®" Show Returns With A New Look And A New Game


SACRAMENTO -- California Lottery's "Big Spin®" show airs Saturday, May 5, 2001, in twelve television markets statewide. Contestants on this week's show won a combined total of $112,500.

The Big Spin® show has returned with a flashy new look and a new grand prix racetrack style game, "Twice As Grand Prix". In the new "Twice As Grand Prix" game, eighteen contestants participate, six at a time. On this week's show, six contestants will compete in the first preliminary round of the game moving simulated racecars along a racetrack. Of the six, one will move on to compete in the final round of play on the May 26th show for $2,000 a week for 20 years; winning a total grand prize of over $2 million. Other "Twice As Grand Prix" contestants will win prizes ranging from $2,500 to $25,000.

Robin Sortman is a working parent volunteer at Jefferson Elementary School in Sacramento. Jefferson Elementary has an annual reading incentive program that encourages children to challenge themselves to read over a six-week period. Having worked professionally at a theater in San Francisco, Sortman uses his creative talents to motivate children to read. Sortman goes to the school at least once a week, in character, to deliver messages regarding the reading incentive program’s weekly theme. The first year he went as "Tex", a sure-shootin’ cowboy, the second year as Elvis, the third year as Merlin the magician and last year as Zandoor, an Extraterrestrial. Sortman was also PTA President and honored by the area PTA with a Certificate of Excellence. For his volunteer contribution to education, Sortman was awarded California Lottery’s "Hero In Education" award. Actress Marla Gibbs, who is best known for her portrayal of "Florence" on the hit television series The Jeffersons, presented Sortman with the award. Marla Gibbs spoke of a hero who had inspired her while she was in school, Ester Taylor, who would stay after school and tutor children until their parents were able to pick them up. "We need to recognize those who have gone above and beyond for education," she said.

Celebrating his 80th birthday, Jess Dowdy of Pasadena won $55,000 on the Fantasy 5TM Dream Machine. Dowdy, who continues to work in transportation said, "I'd like to retire for good this time and use my prize money to visit all my children and grandchildren." At the Fantasy 5 Dream Machine, players have up to five chances to launch one ball at a time into one of the five bins in the pinball-type game, each bin representing a cash amount. Prizes are cumulative, but only one ball may land in each bin to claim the prize amount. Players appearing on this segment qualify by mailing an entry form to the Lottery when $5 of Fantasy 5 games are purchased on one playslip.

Devore resident George Spellman said he was out getting gasoline and had a spare dollar left over, so he bought one Big Spin® Scratchers ticket. That ticket entitled Spellman to go to The Big Spin® show where he won $40,000 spinning the prize wheel. Spellman, a retired Sheriff, said, "I want to take my wife on a cruise to wherever she wants to go."

The California Lottery sells its products through a network of more than 18,000 outlets statewide. The Lottery provides 52.7 percent of its revenues to players as prizes, 34.1 percent to public schools and 13.2 percent for administrative expenses, which includes 6.9 percent for retailer commissions. Since 1985, the Lottery has raised more than $12 billion for public schools. The California Lottery's contribution equals approximately 2 percent of the state's total education budget. "Big Spin®" is the longest running Lottery game show in the country, airing continuously since 1985.

Jess Dowdy Pasadena $ 55,000
George Spellman Devore $ 40,000
Twice As Grand Winners   $ 17,500
  TOTAL $112,500
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See More Press Releases: May, 2001 | Winners Stories |