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Jingle Bells $5,000 grand prize, one $1,000 prize unclaimed

Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce president-elect Andrea Frank, far left, with treasurer Bob Seifert, far right, present checks to Jingle Bells winners, from left, Cleo and James Ritter, Peggy and Jim Havnes and Beth Otteson. (Riham Feshir / Enterprise)

Cleo and James Ritter of Nevis have been celebrating their 60th anniversary since March by taking a special trip every month.

It began with a trip to Cancun and before the end of their anniversary year, they'll use the $1,000 cash prize they won in the Jingle Bells drawing to conclude their festivities with a trip to Hawaii.

The couple was presented with the check Monday, but Saturday was the day they looked at their tickets and found out they won.

It was also James's birthday.

"That was good timing," he said.

But a seven- to 10-day trip to Hawaii may require a little extra money.

"We might need another one of those," Cleo said jokingly, referring to the cash prize.

Three other $1,000 winners claimed their prizes last week. So far the four prizes claimed are ticket categories 1, 2, 3 and 5.

Peggy and Jim Havnes of Menahga turned in a few extra tickets just in time for the drawing Thursday.

They had just started their Christmas shopping, so for them it was also good timing.

They will continue last minute shopping this week using some of the money they won.

"That'll be sweet," Peggy said with a smile.

A third winner, Beth Otteson, claimed another $1,000 check Monday. But before she called the Chamber, she was so in shock that she double, triple checked the number and had a co-worker check it again.

The Nevis resident said she told herself she wasn't going to believe it until she had the check in her hand.

"This weekend, I was looking at the tickets and said 'is this really one of the winning numbers?'" she said.

Beth then called her parents in Portland, N.D. to tell them she received an early Christmas present, hoping that their gift to her would be a little higher in value.

"I was teasing them," she said, adding that she wanted them to compete with the $1,000.

She plans to pay off some bills, finish her Christmas shopping, save some of the money and make donations to the Headwaters Animal Shelter and the Hubbard County Food Shelf.

All three winners have been participating in the Jingle Bells drawing since it began eight years ago and all said they've never even been close to winning.

One more winner has claimed a $1,000 Jingle Bells prize last week.

Charles Lee of Park Rapids, claimed prize number 3 in the $1,000 category. Prize number 4 and the grand prize of $5,000 are still unclaimed.

Lee said he will continue Christmas shopping for his children and pay off some bills with the money.

He said his winning ticket was from the Y Steak House.

"Eating paid off," he said.

So far, only one second-chance prize has been claimed. The deadline to claim all prizes is noon Friday, Jan. 8.

The Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is still looking for the lucky $5,000 grand prize winner as well as one more $1,000 winner.