AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — When manager Becky Onuska looked out the window Friday at 1 p.m., she saw Tonya setting up her lawn chair, ready to be the first person inside the storefront at Austintown’s Wedgewood Plaza for the Holy Apostles Parish bingo game.
Three-and-half hours later, when the doors opened at 4:30 p.m., Tonya — a regular at the weekly game — was among the first to buy her chance for the $26,200 Fireball pull-tab jackpot.
“Tonya looked at me told me she was going to win,” said Onuska. “And I thought for sure she was going to win. When they’re confident like that they usually win it.”
And Tonya had her chance. It was Tonya’s number that would later be drawn, so that Tonya could pick a number from the Fireball board.
But on this night, it would not be a winner.
“If I would have won that jackpot, you would had to pick me off the floor,” Tonya later told Onuska. “I would have passed out.”
The lack of a winner means next Friday’s Fireball jackpot will be $27,200.
It is by far the largest jackpot in the 30-year history of the Holy Apostles bingo game, and likely the largest ever in Northeast Ohio.
The Fireball jackpot started with 100 numbers in November 2021. There are 11 numbers left on the board.
Every week there is no winner, $1,000 is added to the jackpot.
Holy Apostles parish was created in May 2022. Youngstown’s Sts. Peter and Paul Church
is the primary worship site, with St. Stephen of Hungry Church the secondary worship site.
The weekly bingo game is the parish’s primary revenue source.
The minimum cost to play is $25. It’s every Friday in Austintown’s Wedgewood Plaza. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. The first game starts at 7 p.m. They’ve been getting crowds of around 200 people.
Even though she didn’t win the jackpot, Tonya did get $500 for being the person with the chance to win.
Next week, if there’s no winner, the person with the chance will get $1,000.