You probably have seen those Publishers Clearinghouse commercials where people are showered with confetti at their door by the prize patrol. And you may have your doubts if all that is even real.
But one Pawnee couple now can claim to be $10,000 richer, and they have the oversized check to prove it.
Bruce Spears was the winner of the big prize, but as the PCH crew arrived in Pawnee on Friday morning, they found out he was working a couple of hours away. So they enlisted the help of a local newspaper reporter at the Pawnee Chief, who tracked down Bruce’s wife Jo Beth on a shopping trip to Cushing.
In a van filled with congratulatory balloons, they waited until Jo Beth returned home.
She was shocked to find out that after years of filling out the PCH forms, a pretty great surprise was in store right in her front yard.
She called Bruce to tell him the good news.
"You're serious aren't you?" he asked over speakerphone.
Jo Beth assured him she wasn't joking.
"I looked out the window and thought, 'that's not the UPS truck!" she told him. "...Never believed it could happen."
PCH spokesperson Dave Sayer and veteran freelance photojournalist Mark Whaley teamed up to give Jo Beth the good news, a dozen roses and -- you guessed it -- a giant cardboard check to symbolize the thousands of dollars won.
Sayer is semi-retired now, but he has worked for PCH for 35 years. He said that he personally has been a part of more than a quarter-of-a-billion dollars worth of giveaways.
PCH awards prizes year-round to unsuspecting folks, just like Jo Beth, who are loyal in mailing in those forms time after time in hopes that one day it all will pay off.
Whaley operates his production company from his farm in nearby Cleveland, but he travels the nation working for shows like Dateline, the Today Show and Meet the Press, along with fun projects on the side. He said this was the third or fourth time he has been called upon to help PCH deliver prizes in Oklahoma.
For all those folks who think it’s just a bunch of hoopla, Whaley says he's seen it with his own eyes.
“Everyone in Pawnee who saw us today, saw my shirt and witnessed us getting ready for the presentation... they saw that it was the real deal, and they were pretty stoked,” he said.
Sayer made sure Jo Beth knew her good fortune doesn't disqualify her from winning more, "millions more," he said.
"Good, good," Jo Beth Spears said with a big smile. "We'll just keep on trying."
PCH has been an American staple since 1967 and gives away checks ranging from $1,000 to $10 million. The Spears family turned in their entry online, and you can try also by clicking here.