Chris and Randy Manuel. (Iowa Lottery photo)

An Iowa woman and her husband from the small town of Swan south of Des Moines will be in New York for a special one million dollar New Year’s Eve Powerball drawing.

Chris Manuel is among 29 nationwide finalists for the Powerball First Millionaire of the Year drawing. The winner will be announced just after midnight during ABC’s broadcast of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” from Times Square. The 60-year-old Manuel is a locksmith who has undergone cancer surgery and radiation treatments — and says the money would be a big boost.

“I see retiring early, I still got another year and a half but if I would win the money and I could retire a year early and enjoy this time with my husband,” she says. This is the fourth consecutive year for the Powerball First Millionaire of the Year promotion, and the first time since the inaugural edition in 2019 that finalists get to travel to New York City for the event.

Manuel said she’s heard from nearly everyone in her Marion County community of 76 about her win, and she expects them to be watching. “My next-door neighbor I know she has told everybody and anybody about it so yeah there’s gonna be a lot of people watching,” she says. Manuel’s husband Randy says he thought it was going to be something bad when she told him she had something to tell him.

“She told me that her name was drawn. You sure? That’s what they said. She wasn’t sure either….I mean she’s pretty lucky so hopefully her luck keeps going,” he says. Each of this year’s finalists receives an exclusive trip for two to New York valued at more than $28,000 that includes round-trip airfare; a three-night hotel stay in Times Square; two tickets to a theater performance and other iconic excursions; all meals while in New York,  $1,000 spending cash.

Just after the ball drops to usher in the New Year, Powerball’s First Millionaire of the Year will be announced live on the national broadcast at 11 p.m. Iowa time.

Radio Iowa