Ace caught on 2nd draw as tens of thousands swarm Goulds for final night of lottery

Nearly a year after St. Kevin's Parish started its unassuming Chase the Ace lottery, crowds descended on Goulds for the multi-draw finale.

Marge and Don Gorman of Conception Bay South win $2.6 million; 50/50, consolation prizes top $400K

Marge and Don Gorman of Conception Bay South are $2.6 million richer after successfully pulling the ace of spades Wednesday night. (Ariana Kelland/CBC)

The ace couldn't hide forever.

On the second draw of the night Marge Gorman of Conception Bay South put her finger on the card that won her more than $2.6 million.

It all happened during a festive, potentially multi-draw finale that brought Chase the Ace to a close so its weekly exponential growth wouldn't choke Goulds roads with school set to resume next week.

Gorman said she and her husband Don were splitting the jackpot with three other couples: their son and his girlfriend, her son's girlfriend's parents, and her sister and brother-in-law.

"I just can't believe it," said Marge Gorman.

"I just started screaming … I does home care, but I'm now going to retire," she said laughing.

Ten months after St. Kevin's Parish started its unassuming lottery, crowds descended on Goulds to see the end of Chase the Ace fever.

Don and Marge Gorman of Conception Bay South speak to the media after winning more than $2.6 million in the Goulds area of St. John's. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

People stood in lines for several hours to get tickets, with some being turned away empty-handed just ahead of the 8 p.m. cutoff when tickets ran out.

Tonight was the 44th week for the draw, which saw its popularity grow hand-in-hand with the jackpot over the summer. In late June, the jackpot sat at $447,700. By July 26, the jackpot was over a million dollars — and still growing.

The increasing attention brought the need for more logistical support from security to porta-potties. And as August arrived with a dozen cards still left, organizers were faced with a problem: traffic congestion from jackpot-hunters was effectively bringing Goulds roads to a standstill every Wednesday, with school set to start in a few weeks.

An exit strategy was devised ahead of the Aug. 23 draw; if the ace didn't go that night, the following week would be the last night.

If the ace wasn't picked on the first draw, another winning ticket would be drawn, with the holder given a chance to find it, and the process repeated as often as necessary.

In the end, it only took two draws.

The first winning number Wednesday night was held by Glenn Stokes of Mount Pearl. Right suit, wrong card: He drew the 10 of spades, and took home the consolation prize of $437,556.

Marjorie Williams of Kilbride won the 50/50 draw prize of $427,135.