The Lottery, And A Ranch, Create Long-Term Success For A Cowboy

Jacob Rebb

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Neal Wanless was born and raised a cowboy. Living near Mission, South Dakota, where much of the population is in poverty, Wanless was working on his family-owned farm, not making much money. He was just barely getting by.

His family had been going through hard times since 2009 when they suffered heavy losses due to the recession gripping the United States. Having had their mobile home repossessed, they were forced to move into a camper. They had thousands owed in property tax and could barely pay that, and had resorted to selling loose junk and other methods of obtaining cash.

Life will change

Down on his luck, and hopeful that his life of selling scrap may come to an end, Wanless was in the town of Winner, South Dakota in 2009 buying feed for the farm when he decided that he would buy a lottery ticket. Wanless bought $15 worth of five plays using what little money he had at the time. He chose numbers related to his family members’ birthdays to play and did not expect much from them. What Wanless did not know was that, in a short amount of time, his life would totally change.

From nothing to something

The tickets Wanless bought in Winner proved to be just that, winners. Wanless was rewarded with a $232.1 million Powerball win with the tickets that he purchased. During a time of bad luck and down times for many, this amount of money was a blessing to Wanless and his family. He commented at the time that a lot of this newfound wealth would go towards helping his family as well as the communities that he lived in — which, to him, was just the South Dakotan way.

Becoming a cowboy

Wanless, having newfound wealth saw many new opportunities. One such worthy investment was a piece of property known as the Bismarck Trail Ranch, a sprawling amount of land.

By 2022, he had amassed 41,822 acres of this land, on top of leased land that is capped off with a ranch house. It was only natural that Wanless would be attracted to it, and with his purchase of the ranch, he created an investment for himself while being able to become a bonafide cowboy.

Opportunity arises

That was not the end of the story for Wanless, however. He spent much of his time, effort, and money developing the property that had been granted to him by a turn of fate. After much work and 13 years of ownership, Wanless decided that he wanted to finally sell the land that he had spent a large portion of his life developing.

More good has come

Getting in touch with a broker from Hall and Hall, the land was shopped around for originally $41 million. It sold for $37 million in December 2022. This was double the price that Wanless had originally paid, and with the sale, his investment had proven to be a success. The cowboy, having started with nothing 13 years before the sale, had developed long-term success for himself and his family. The success of his ranch shows the importance of being dedicated to your work.