A dozen friends and family from Montrose, South Dakota, pooled $600 and now have $321,208 to show for it. The group won the jackpot Wednesday in a "Chase the Queen" fundraiser that has been drawing thousands to Hudson, population 324. The fundraiser granted 10% of weekly ticket sales to the person whose ticket was pulled; he or she then got to flip over one card from a dwindling deck in a search for the queen of diamonds. Find it, and win the jackpot, which was made up of 40% of ticket sales for that week and all the weeks prior. It had been ongoing for a year without the queen ever surfacing. Then Ryan Gordon stepped up. Representing the Montrose group "Gordon 10+2," he picked the queen from three remaining cards outside Waddy's Bar. "No way!" he said before burying his face in his hands, per ABC News.
With an even split, each of 12 group members would take home $26,767. But the Southeast Area Pink Ladies are the true winners. The local women's darts team started the fundraiser hoping to raise $20,000 for their charitable group, which helps people dealing with cancer. They far exceeded that goal; the group sold $10,000 in tickets in a Tuesday night pre-sale alone, per the Argus Leader (they retained 50% of ticket sales). "We're pretty overwhelmed right now," but "we are going to be able to help so many people with this money," president Sara Pearson tells Keloland.com. "If they're within 30 miles and they have cancer, we help them," she tells the Leader. It's not too late to get in on the action. Pearson says the fundraiser will start up again in a few months. (A couple set a fundraising goal of $1,500, then raised $20 million.)