By Greg Grisolano

PITTSBURG, Kan. — A $5.26 million Hot Lotto jackpot is not going to stop Larry Barrett from working at his towing and auto-body business in Pittsburg.

“I’m most comfortable where I’m at, getting in my wrecker and going out on calls,” said the 59-year-old, who claimed his winnings last weekend in Topeka. “I’ve been that way since I was 3 years old.”

He credits his parents with instilling in him and his siblings an appreciation for hard work.

“My mom and dad, that’s all they did was work,” he said. “That was instilled in all five of us, and we’re exactly the same.”

Barrett has been the owner and operator of Larry Barrett Body Frame and Towing since 1971.

While he may not be closing his shop, Barrett said he plans to take a weeklong cruise with his grandchildren to celebrate.

Barrett’s ticket matched all numbers in the May 31 Hot Lotto drawing. The numbers were 27, 31, 35, 36 and 38, with a Hot Ball number of 10.

As the winner of the Hot Lotto jackpot, Barrett could have taken the grand prize as an annuity paid over 24 years (25 payments), or a cash lump-sum payment. He took the lump-sum payment, which is $3.2 million, minus 25 percent in federal taxes and 5 percent in state taxes, for a total of $2.24 million.

“If I was younger, I’d think about taking the annuity,” Barrett said. “I’m 59 years old. I’ve had open-heart surgery. If I took the annuity and died tomorrow, it doesn’t go to my family. And I don’t think that’s right.”

Barrett bought his winning ticket at Frontenac’rs in Frontenac. For selling the jackpot ticket, the retailer is eligible for a $2,500 bonus.

Barrett said he usually plays twice a week and buys at least $20 worth of tickets each time.

“The most I’d ever won was $200 on two different tickets,” he said. “I’m pretty much done with it now.”

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