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Man keeps promise made in 1992 and splits $22 million lottery winnings with friend

Friends share $22 million lottery winnings
Friends share $22 million lottery winnings 00:56

Two friends made a promise in 1992: If one of them won the Powerball jackpot, they'd split the winnings.

Nearly 30 years later, one of them did — and made good on his promise, made with a handshake.

It all happened earlier this month when Thomas Cook bought a Powerball ticket in Menomonie, Wisconsin, for the June 10 drawing. He ended up hitting the jackpot, according to Wisconsin Lottery.

After learning he won a whopping $22 million, Cook called his friend Joe Feeney and told him the news. "He called me and I said, 'are you jerking my bobber?'" said Feeney, an avid fisherman, according to the lottery's press release.

Cook, though, wasn't kidding, despite the odds: The overall odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338, according to the lottery. 

$22 Million Wisconsin Powerball Winners by Wisconsin Lottery on YouTube

Cook and Feeney chose the cash option, which gave them about $16.7 million — each taking home $5.7 million after taxes. Neither has extravagant plans for their winnings, except for enjoying retirement.

Feeney was already retired from the fire department. Cook gave his two-weeks notice to retire after winning and said now, they can "pursue what we feel comfortable with."

"I can't think of a better way to retire," Cook said.

The friends look forward to some traveling, something they've already done together. Cook, Feeney and their wives used to take road trips together in a small convertible. Now, they plan to upgrade, says the press release.

"The power of friendship and a handshake has paid off," Wisconsin Lottery Director Cindy Polzin said in the press release. "I'm thrilled for them — their lucky day has arrived!"

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