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Press release

September 6, 2002

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September, 2002 | Winners Stories

Contestants Win $250,000 on The Big Spin® Show


SACRAMENTO — California Lottery's "The Big Spin®" show airs Saturday, September 7, 2002, in twelve television markets statewide. Contestants on this week's show win a total of $250,000.

Assemblymember Carol Liu presented Marilyn Chukwurah with the California Lottery's Exceptional Educator Award on "The Big Spin" show. Assemblymember Liu explains, "Marilyn is about to embark on her 13th year of teaching, motivating and mentoring students at Edison Elementary. Her dedication to enriching the lives of students began long before and has benefited many schools throughout the Los Angeles and Pasadena Unified School Districts."

Chukwurah's commitment has gone beyond the classroom by including the community. Her philosophy is that "One cannot set goals for their future if they do not know their achievements of their past." Chukwurah created a Saturday cultural school called "Rhythms of the village." The goal is to teach academics through the formation of a cultural based society. Liu concluded, "Marilyn, for your superior commitment to California's students, it is my privilege to proclaim you an Exceptional Educator."

Frank Catalya
Frank Catalya

The Fantasy 5 Dream Machine contestant appearing on this week's show is Frank Catalya, an accountant from Pittsburgh. Catalya wins $60,000 and he explained his plans for the money, "I will pay part of the mortgage and travel to Europe." Catalya bought his lucky ticket at Souza Brothers Liquor in Oakland. 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.

Ronald Sanora
Ronald Sanora

This week's show had two contestants that try to win a chance to spin the big wheel on this week's show. The first contestant that wins a chance to spin the prize wheel from the California Gold elimination round is Ronald Sanora, a service representative from Hacienda Heights, who wins $120,000. "I plan to use this money to take my family on a nice vacation," said Sanora. Sanora purchased his lucky ticket at Casa Blanca Mexican Restaurant in Hacienda Heights. The second runner-up from this California Gold round is Alejandro Flandes, a cook from Oxnard, who wins $5,000.

The second contestant that makes it to the big wheel from the California Gold game is Louis Ortiz, a student from Los Angeles who wins $25,000. When asked what his plans to do with his prize, Ortiz replied, "I plan to use it for my kids college education." Ortiz purchased his ticket at L & M Liquor in Gardena. The second runner-up from this California Gold round is Regina Friou, a student from Victorville, who wins $5,000.

California Gold is another way to get to the wheel on "The Big Spin" show. The game starts with 10 contestants whose Big Spin Scratchers® tickets each revealed three "TV SHOW" symbols on one ticket. When instructed, each player pushes down a "detonator" to reveal a prize ranging from $1,750 to $4,000. Two of those contestants will reveal gold nuggets and advance to the second round of play. Once there, they compete to see who can get the closest to 10 units of "gold nuggets" in their mining car without going over. The winner of this round goes to "The Big Spin" prize wheel, while the other contestant wins $5,000.

The California Lottery sells its products through a network of more than 18,000 retail outlets statewide. The Lottery provides 52 percent of its revenues to players as prizes, 34.7 percent to public schools and 13.3 percent for administrative expenses, which includes 6.8 percent for retailer commissions. Since 1985, the Lottery has raised more than $13 billion for public schools. The Lottery's contribution equals approximately 2 percent of the state's total education budget. "The Big Spin®" is the longest running Lottery game show in the country, airing continuously since 1985.


Ronald Sanora Hacienda Heights $120,000
Frank Catalya Pittsburgh $60,000
Louis Ruiz Los Angeles $25,000
Other California Gold Contestants $45,000
TOTAL      $250,000
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