A group of Edson-area rig workers had 25 million reasons to smile on Friday, as they officially accepted their lottery prize at a cheque presentation.

The 15 CanElson Drilling workers, who regularly play the lottery together, will be splitting a $25 million Lotto Max prize from Nov. 2’s draw. That works out to about $1.6 million per person.

Keith Gould of Spruce Grove was the first to find out the group had won and couldn’t believe it when he saw his group's ticket numbers match with the winning numbers posted online.

“I looked at the first four numbers of the main winning numbers, and then I started going through our tickets. When I found one with those four numbers, I checked the fifth one, and then the sixth, and the seventh,” Gould said.

“I folded the ticket and put it up against the computer monitor to look at them together and make sure they were the same.”

And they were.

Gould shared the news that night with some co-workers who were on shift and then told the majority of the group at a morning meeting the next day.

However, some members who weren’t there for that announcement found out in other ways.

“I got a call from a lady in Human Resources in the morning saying, ‘you’ve won $1.6 million,’” said Corey Caines of Leduc.

“I didn’t believe it at first; then I checked my phone and had 24 missed calls and 100 text messages.

“I’m just like, ‘don’t be lying about that, that’s not funny to lie about. Are you serious?” said Josh Picard of Edmonton.

“When I found out what was going on, I couldn’t believe it,” said Dustin Gibson of Jarvie.

“I fell down to the ground, I said ‘are you kidding me?’”

Most of the 15 new millionaires are from the Edmonton area. Two winners are from Newfoundland, one from B.C. and one from Saskatchewan. They all worked at a rig site near Edson.

Alberta’s newest millionaires are:

  • Keith Gould, Tyrone Genge, Clay Genge, Edwin Verkerk of Spruce Grove
  • Dustin Gibson and Tristan Hodge of Jarvie
  • Howard Myers of Stony Plain
  • Joshua Picard of Edmonton
  • Glen Barnett of Devon
  • Steven Howes of Calgary
  • Corey Caines of Leduc
  • Tyler Grant of West Kelowna, B.C.
  • Kyle Jones of Estevan, Saskatchewan
  • Clayton Genge of Anchor Point, Newfoundland
  • Brand Myers of Bartletts Harbour, Newfoundland

Picard plans to spend sometime on his newfound passion of snowboarding.

He’s also treating his younger sister Dara to a birthday in Las Vegas.

“I called her up. I’m like, ‘Vegas is going to be really fun.’ She’s like, ‘why is that?’ and I’m like, ‘I won the lottery,’” Picard said.

Gould plans on taking a nice holiday.

“She’s going to be a nice Christmas this year,” he said.

All 15 say they’ll keep working with CanElson and may even invest in the company.

“We have a real good group of guys here,” Gould said.

Most are expecting to take some time off for the holidays before heading back to work in the new year.

With files from Bill Fortier