We all have our own unique dreams in life and for Rick Knudsen, his dream was to one day own a huge property on a peak on Yucaipa Ridge in Southern California. The reason being, is that he used to sit on his porch and watch a huge house being built up on the mountain in the perfect location. A year later, thanks to winning $180 million on the Mega Millions lottery he bought the house.
Back in 2014, Mr Knudsen won $180 million in the California Mega Millions lottery. He bought the winning lottery ticket at a 7-Eleven on a trip back from the gym. While vacationing in Palm Springs, his sister called to say the winner came from the local store.
“I was cool. I didn’t freak out,” said Knudsen. However, after double checking his lottery ticket to the winning Mega Millions lottery numbers for the same draw, the first person he called was his boss telling him, “‘Hey brother, I’m outta here’,” and immediately retired from his job as a manager of a roofing products company.
Next, he rented a party bus, piled in his friends and family and they all celebrated the massive Mega Millions jackpot win.
Not long after that, he did some calling around and bought the not-yet-completed home up on the hill he had been looking at from his porch.
The palatial home he had been looking at was on about 50 acres of land. The home already boasted a 17-seat movie theatre and a garage big enough to make any car collector extremely happy.
Knudsen spent a few million more on an adjacent buffalo ranch on 155 acres, then still more on another neighbouring 640-acre piece of land and a steakhouse and saloon in the area.
In total the Mega Millions lottery winner said he spent approximately $11.5 million creating his dream home.
He didn’t stop there though, and the following year he bought a home for each of his five children.
The lucky Mega Millions winner’s real-estate agent, Craig Strong of Pacific Union International, said that his client’s purchases were driven by feeling, rather than investment returns.
“I’ve represented people who’ve inherited a fortune, made a fortune but never won a fortune. It became more of an emotional purchase for him because he was able to fulfil his own dreams.”
According to Knudsen, “It was just bam, bam, bam. Within three months I owned it all.”
The property, aptly named Eagle Crest Mountain Estate, comprises of a main 16,000-square-foot rustic home with five bedrooms, 155-acres of a buffalo ranch and farm, and 640-acres of his own mountain section with water rights.
The main house has an elevator, a gym, a wine cellar, a one-bedroom guest apartment, and a wraparound deck. There are also two barns, a caretaker’s home, a stocked fishing pond, and a 5½-mile hiking and driving trail.
The fully-operational ranch comes with 45 buffalo, who looking at their diet, are lottery winners themselves. They’re grass and apple fed and served at the steakhouse. The lucky Mega Millions lottery winner said that he’s spotted black bear, deer and mountain lions on the property. He estimated that he spends roughly $1,000 a month feeding the wildlife, including 150 pounds of apples and carrots a month.
The saloon and the buffalo ranch is managed by Mr. Knudsen’s son. Unfortunately, due to his son’s illness and receiving doctor’s orders to live in a lower altitude, the Mega Millions lottery winner has put his dream home on the market for $26 million.
According to the real estate agent, Mr. Knudsen is looking for someone to take over his house as well as the small collection of enterprises he purchased following his lottery win.
The Mega Millions lottery winner said that he’s always been lucky and that he has a thing for numbers. The $180 million lottery win wasn’t the first time that he has won, as a few years back, he also won $20,000 in blackjack.
“You can say I’m a crackpot, but I’m not,” he said. For the week leading up to the win, he said that every time he went into a store, his cash total was an even number, with no change at all. “When these things happen numerically, I think my luck is good,” he said. So he bought a lottery ticket.
Unlike so many lottery jackpot winners who have lost their lottery fortune, Mr. Knudsen said he is in no financial difficulty saying, “I’m worth more now than I was when I won it. My old boss hooked me up with his financial advisor, and I’ve done nothing but make millions.”
He went on to say that he’s happier as a result of the Mega Millions jackpot win. “I really am,” he said. “I do run into some haters, some old clients of mine and stuff, but I’m cool.”
Originally from Hawaii, Mr. Knudsen grew up in a modest home in Oceanside, Calif. His father was a veteran who served in South Korea and Vietnam, and his mother did clerical work. Mr. Knudsen started working in the roofing business when he was 19 and worked his way through the ranks to become general manager of the company he worked for. He moved to the San Bernardino area around 1982.
When asked about selling his dream home up in the mountains he responded saying that he has been restless since completing the main home and is ready to move on to another challenge. This will more than likely be another mountain home at a lower elevation nearby.
Mr. Knudsen said he does have some advice for the winner of the latest Mega Millions jackpot of $1.537 billion: “Call me.”
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