AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It was after 11 p.m. Friday night and the only thing left to do at the weekly Holy Apostles Parish Bingo game was to see if, after 22 months, there would finally be a winner of the Fireball pull-tab jackpot.
“We pulled the seal on the board,” was how Bingo manager Becky Onuska described the scene. “The number was 1013.”
That’s when Sandy, 76, of Boardman, raised her hand. She had 1013, which gave her the opportunity to select from the eight numbers left on the jackpot board.
The board was brought to Sandy, who had recently started wearing a COVID-19 protection mask.
“She picked her number that she wished to have,” Onuska said. “It was 49. She opened and it said, ‘Jackpot!'”
The number 49 will pay Sandy $31,200, by far the largest jackpot in the 30-year history of the Holy Apostles Parish Bingo game, and what is believed to be the largest Bingo jackpot ever in Northeast Ohio.
“The crowd broke into applause and cheers,” Onuska said, who added that 200 people were playing and a “sold out” sign had to be hung several hours before the 7 p.m. start time.
Sandy, who asked that her last name not be used, couldn’t believe she won.
“I’m in shock,” she said. “My hands are still shaking. I’m in shock.”
The Holy Apostles Parish Bingo game is played every Friday night in a storefront in Austintown’s Wedgewood Plaza.
The Fireball pull-tab jackpot was started in November 2021 with 100 numbers, with no one winning until Friday night.
Onuska, who spent time before the game explaining to people that they were sold out and couldn’t take more players, said afterward that she was “relieved, excited and thrilled. Our jackpot won.”
Holy Apostles Parish was formed several years ago out of Youngstown’s Sts. Peter and Paul Church and St. Stephen of Hungary Church. Last year, Sts. Peter and Paul was named as the primary worship site.
The weekly Bingo game is the parish’s largest fundraiser.
Next week, another 100-number Fireball pull-tab jackpot will begin with the winning amount at $1,000.