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Summerville Home to the Contest Winning Queen
5/5/2011 8:47:35 AM

COLUMBIA, SC (May 5, 2011) – Linda Neil has a knack for winning stuff.

What’s her secret?

“Luck,” she said. “That and I enter every contest that comes my way.”

The Summerville resident doesn’t hesitate to sign her name to an entry form or repeatedly dial up a radio station to be the 10th caller.

“It’s really turned into a hobby,” she said.

The South Carolina Education Lottery crossed paths with Neil this week when she won two tickets to the NASCAR® races at Darlington in the Lottery’s Players’ Club contest.

The conversation quickly turned to her propensity to win.

In the last two weeks, Neil has won a $500 Bass Pro Shops® gift card in a drawing, $400 on two instant tickets and the tickets to Darlington all complements of the Lottery.

The Darlington tickets are for her husband. She won the tickets by joining the Lottery’s Players’ Club online at sceducationlottery.com and entering the member’s only Darlington race tickets promotion.

“My husband is a big NASCAR® fan, and he’s really looking forward to the races,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the souvenirs.”

She’s certainly collected her fair share from the Lottery. She’s won Ford®, Harley-Davidson®, American Idol™ and Atlanta Braves™ merchandise in the Lottery’s second-chance drawings. Oh, and two iPods®.

“One day I may win the big one,” the Summerville YMCA after school program worker added.

The folks at Powerball® might as well start making out a check to her.

Lucky Linda as her friends call her is riding a winning streak that’s held for 25 years.

It started when she called in to a radio station and won a cassette tape, followed by another tape and eventually a whole collection of tapes. Next it was free concert tickets to see acts like David Copperfield and Bette Midler.

Then there were the cruises.

“I’ve been on nine cruises, and I’ve won five of them,” she said.

She won a spot with Regis and Kelly on the talk show hosts’ fan cruise out of New York with stops in Boston, Philadelphia, Norfolk and Miami. Budweiser footed the bill for a cruise to the Bahamas. Then when Best Buy opened in Charleston, she entered and won a cruise to Mexico.

She’s even won on cruises she had to pay for.

To celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, she and her husband cruised out of Charleston. Three miles off shore, Neil put two quarters in a slot machine and won $2,500.

That’s not all. She won $12,000 on a trip across country staying for free at Harrah’s Casinos from here to Oregon.

Last year she won a television and a gas grill entering contests.

What does her husband think of all this?

“He can’t believe it,” she said. “I think he has a lot of fun telling his friends all I’ve won.”

He’s smart too.

He doesn’t sign his name to any entry forms. He waits and has his wife do it.

When the couple gets home from Darlington this weekend, she’ll tape the race tickets in her “memory book,” a scrapbook that documents all the winning moments.

“I’m hoping to have a copy of a big winning ticket in there one day,” she said.

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