Mt. Pleasant man picks different scratch game, wins $30,000 lottery prize

Tom Best Claims Top Prize In 'Jolly Holiday Crossword' Scratch Game. Photo courtesy Iowa Lottery.

CLIVE, Iowa – A southeast Iowa man said he decided to buy a different scratch game since his local lottery retailer was sold out of his favorite one and that made all the difference.

Tommie “Tom” Best of Mount Pleasant claimed the seventh of 19 top prizes of $30,000 available in the Iowa Lottery’s “Jolly Holiday Crossword” game. He said his first choice was a similar $5 version of the lottery’s popular Crossword scratch game, but his local BP, 2120 E. Washington St. was sold out of that game Wednesday.

Best, 73, said he took his ticket home and scratched it off later that night.

“I kept scratching and scratching and all of a sudden my heart rate started going pretty fast,” Best told lottery employees Thursday as he claimed his prize at the lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids.

He called his wife, Connie, over to double-check his work with him.

“We double-checked it and I said, ‘That’s 10.’ And she says, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s $30,000, dear!'” he said.

The couple then returned to BP to have the winning ticket verified. Once it was confirmed that Best had indeed won $30,000, he said he sent a text message to his son.

Best, who is retired, said he plans to use a portion of his winnings to pay bills and invest the rest.

Jolly Holiday Crossword is a $3 scratch game. More details about how to play this game, and number of prizes still up for grabs in it can be found on the Iowa Lottery’s website,

The Jolly Holiday Crossword scratch game is one of 11 holiday tickets that can be entered online or via our new mobile app in the “Secret Santa” Play It Again® promotion from now through 8:59 a.m. Dec. 28 for a chance to win cash prizes. For rules and complete details, visit

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