Friends share Powerball jackpot win, keeping 1992 promise

Longtime Wisconsin buddies honor decades-old theoretical pact to split improbable lottery prize.

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Tom Cook, Joseph Feeney and their wives receiving their Wisconsin Lottery check
Tom Cook (left), Joseph Feeney (right) and their wives receiving their Wisconsin Lottery check
(Wisconsin Lottery)

A western Wisconsin man will share his millions in lottery winnings with a longtime friend because of a promise they made to each other nearly three decades ago.

Friends Tom Cook and Joseph Feeney shook hands in 1992 and promised that if either one of them ever won the Powerball jackpot, they would split the money.

That promise came to fruition last month when Cook bought the winning ticket for a $22 million jackpot at Synergy Coop in Menomonie.

When Cook called to give his friend the good news, Feeney couldn’t quite believe it.

“He called me, and I said, ‘are you jerking my bobber?’” said Feeney, an avid fisherman.

Cook retired after hitting the jackpot while Feeney was already retired. Neither has any extravagant plans for the winnings but are looking forward to enjoying more family time.

“We can pursue what we feel comfortable with. I can’t think of a better way to retire,” Cook said. The pair said they’re looking forward to some traveling.

The men chose the cash option of about $16.7 million, leaving each with nearly $5.7 million after taxes are paid.

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in about 292 million.

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