If there is anyone feeling pressure today, it’s Sam Arlen. He’s the man you’ll be watching this evening as those little white balls are chosen one by one to determine the fate of the record-breaking $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot.
It’s a small world, though, as it turns out Sam and eventer Rick Wallace are close friends — Sam even ventures out to Red Hills each year to hang with his favorite equestrians. Perhaps this is the good luck charm we’ve all been looking for!
When it comes down to business, though, Sam takes his position very seriously. “I started working with the Florida Lottery and then did a law school gig after that. When I came back, I did more work with the Florida Lottery, and then PowerBall decided to move to Tallahassee,” he said.
“I remember vividly thinking, ‘One of these days, I’m going to be doing Powerball.’ I certainly didn’t know it would happen and, to my knowledge, I wasn’t even on the radar. But when Powerball decided to move to Tallahassee, they asked if I would be interested. It was kind of a full circle moment for me to be able to host the biggest lottery in the country.”
Tonight will be a history making moment for Sam, who will either draw a set of winning numbers or will draw a set that sends the jackpot skyrocketing even further into outer space.
“I will be really freaking nervous,” Sam laughed. “But I’m also excited. I feel like I’m sharing a collective excitement and energy about the game and the hope someone might win.”
“I don’t know if this comes across on TV, but it requires a lot of focus up there, to call the numbers right and without a teleprompter. I’ll be more focused than ever tonight — I’ll be in the zone, so to speak.”
“It’s one of the best things to ever happen to me, and I’m extremely grateful to be the host. Though I can’t play myself, I can channel this sort of international energy that surrounds Powerball and the hopes and dreams so many people share.”
I tried to give Sam a list of numbers that I wanted him to draw — unfortunately, he said that wasn’t exactly how the process worked. His advice to the eventual winner, however, is to “hire a lawyer and get a CPA! And maybe buy a horse.”
We’ll take that advice and run with it, Sam! Best of luck to all lottery players tonight — no pressure, Sam, but the entire eventing community is now depending on your to pull our numbers.
You can follow Sam on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest from the Powerball stage. Many thanks to Sam for his time and to Rick Wallace for connecting him to EN!