Missouri Powerball lottery winner to become a celebrity

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:17am EST

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Nov 30 (Reuters) - The winner of half of a record $587.5 million Powerball jackpot will briefly become a national celebrity on Friday when the Missouri Lottery announces the name of the buyer at a press conference in the tiny farming town of Dearborn.

The Missouri Lottery said it would identify the winner at 11 a.m. local time at the high school in Dearborn, which had a population of 496 at the 2010 census.

The Missouri ticket, sold at a local Trex Mart gas station and convenience store about 30 miles (48 km) north of Kansas City, was one of two winners announced on Wednesday night. The other was sold at a food store in Fountain Hills, Arizona, on the outskirts of Phoenix. The Arizona winner has not yet come forward.

Some states allow lottery winners to remain anonymous but Missouri requires that the winner be publicly identified to claim the prize.

Dearborn was awash with rumors on Thursday that the winner was a local man in his early 50s. No one was home when a Reuters reporter arrived at the address listed as the man's residence.

Dearborn reveled in its sudden arrival in the spotlight.

"It was a total surprise," Don Palmer, a customer at the Trex Mart convenience store, said on Thursday. "Nothing ever happens in Dearborn."

The winning numbers were 5, 16, 22, 23, 29, and the Powerball number 6.

The Missouri winner will have the choice of half of an estimated $385 million before taxes i f taken in a lump sum, the Multi-State Lottery Association said.

Or, the winner can receive half of $587.5 million as an annuity in payments over three decades, the association said.

The odds of winning based on a $2 purchase were calculated at more than 175 million to one. (Writing by Greg McCune; Editing by Eric Walsh and Vicki Allen)