What a South Dakota Cowboy Buys With His $232 Million Powerball Lottery Winnings!
In 2009, 23-year-old-cowboy Neal Wanless bought a Powerball ticket in the aptly named town of Winner, South Dakota on a routine trip to buy livestock feed. That ticket turned out to be one of the most lucrative in US lottery history - a $232.1 million jackpot. Trying to make a living in one of the nation’s ten poorest counties, the Wanless family had been down on their luck, their mobile home recently repossessed and falling behind on their taxes, when Neal’s stroke of luck turned their fortunes around. Among other ventures, the young man purchased a 47,883-acre ranch in Vale known as the Bismark Trail Ranch. Now married to a woman from Canada, Wanless listed the ranch for sale in 2020 at $41.5 million. Still looking for a buyer, Neal has reduced the listing price to $37.5 million.
The Bismarck Trail Ranch is not your everyday cowboy ranch, it comes with four homes, numerous working facilities including truck and livestock scales, and multiple new Morton outbuildings. The owner’s upscale residence includes hardwood floors, high-beam ceilings, several fireplaces, and a collection of taxidermy animals. A spacious open floor plan connects the massive kitchen and dining/living areas. A home theater and a games room are perfect for relaxing after a hard day herding cattle. And for the horse lovers, the property includes indoor-and-outdoor arenas and brand-new equestrian facilities. Approximately a thousand wild mustangs roam the ranch, which is also home to whitetail, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope.
A diverse property, the ranch ranges from Belle Fourche River bottom to grassy-covered hillsides. More than just another pretty ranch, the irrigated acres produce over 150 bushels of corn and six tons per acre of alfalfa. The ranch’s 38 irrigated pastures feature miles of pipeline, extensive stock tanks, and numerous stock dams currently leased for grazing. Spectacular views of the legendary Bear Butte nearby and the Black Hills on the horizon complete the picture.
Named after the Bismarck Trail that took pioneers from North Dakota to Deadwood during the days of the Black Hills Gold Rush, the Bismark Trail Ranch is located in the small town of Vale (population 96), about 50 miles north of Rapid City - South Dakota’s second-largest city. The historic towns of Deadwood and Sturgis are also nearby. Deadwood not only features gambling but other entertainment and restaurants as well as a vibrant nightlife, while Sturgis is famous for its annual motorcycle rally which attracts up to 700,000 participants and generates $800 million in revenue each year. Recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, biking, skiing, snowmobiling, and sightseeing abound in the area which has become increasingly popular with celebrities. Demi Moore, Justin Timberlake, and Jack Nicholson have vacation homes in the area.
The listing is held by Robb Nelson of Hall and Hall, Denver, Colorado.
Photos: Courtesy of Hall and Hall