OAK GLEN (CBSLA.com) — A lot of people dream about taking off to an exotic island when they hit it big. But when Rick Knudsen, of Calimesa, won $180 million in the Mega Millions in 2014, he just moved across town. Then he bought property in nearby Oak Glen, opened up a saloon, steakhouse and wedding venue with his children.
“He kept it within his family and kept it close,” Brandon Gallegos, the lotto winner’s son, said.
Gallegos says a lot of people tell him they’d stop working if they won a big jackpot, but he says his family didn’t want to do that.
“We’d rather give back and provide jobs, provide a future for our families and for other families as well,” he said.
Locals, who say the bar has become one of the busiest spots in town, appreciate how the family has spent their winnings.
“It’s nice to see that they put the money to good use, and that they’ve been successful with it. Terry Tuley, of Yucaipa, said.
“That’s cool they stayed local, and they do help a lot of people out. I think that’s really cool,” Shane Cash, of Calimesa, said.
Many of them are now going to the same convenience store where Knudsen bought his ticket. Hoping that luck will strike there twice. Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot is expected to be more than $700 million.
Gallegos says if someone local does win big, he’d tell them to follow his father’s example.
“With the way they invested into the business, the family, to provide for us and keep paying the bills, definitely, if you invest it the right way, it doesn’t matter what amount you can, it will change your life, it will alter your life.”