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Rancher who won Powerball fortune in 2009 lists Butte County property at $41 million

Rancher who won Powerball fortune in 2009 lists Butte County property at $41 million


The Newell cowboy who won the $232.1 million Powerball jackpot in 2009 has listed his nearly 50,000-acre ranch for sale for a whopping $41.15 million.

Wanless recently told the Wall Street Journal he’s selling the Bismarck Ranch that is about 10 miles east of Vale in Butte County. He and his wife, Jody, are spending more time at her family’s cattle ranch in Canada’s British Columbia and recently bought a house in Arizona where they plan to spend winters, according to the publication.

When Wanless won the Powerball, he and his family lived in a camper. Instead of taking installments of the jackpot, he took a lump sum of $88.5 million and bought 7,000 acres for a family ranch. He bought parcel after parcel until it amounted to 47,883 acres.

It now has a deeded 41,822 acres with 4,000 acres leased to the Bureau of Land Management for grazing horses, 1,600 to the state and a few others. The Bureau of Land Management horses came to the property in 2016.

Wanless built four houses on the property in the past 10 years along with a barn, indoor arena, outdoor arena, calving barn, sheep barn and bulk bin-hopper. Other improvements include a solar-powered shop, barn, pole barn, storage shed, bushel bins and truck scale and house.

The main house is about 6,400- to 6,500-square feet with five bedrooms and bathrooms, a full-length balcony, walkout basement, high-vaulted ceilings, fireplace, built-in cabinets and shelving.

Wanless’ real estate agent, Robb Nelson of Denver from Hall and Hall, said there are conflicting records on the square footage of the main house, but the insurance paperwork lists it at 6,400.

The second house was built in 2010 for Wanless’ mother, who now lives on a 100-acre property. 

The bunkhouse and ranch manager’s house are 1,200 and 1,500 square feet, respectively.

Nelson said if the property is sold for the asking price, it will be among the most expensive ranches sold in South Dakota. He also said Wanless would like to sell the property altogether.

Lisa Nelson, Butte County director of equalization and planning, said it’s difficult to estimate the appraisal of a single acre since it depends on what’s on the land and the soil composition.

In 2015, the 45,443-acre Triple U Ranch northwest of Fort Pierre was sold for $32.4 million.

Hall and Hall lists the Cheyenne River Ranch outside Rapid City as a 20,555 deeded acres for $21.6 million.

The Bolln Ranch in Fall River County is listed at 21,810 acres for $10 million. The Rafter R Ranch in Hermosa is listed as $15,541,422 for 3,670 acres.

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