After a long day at work last Thursday, Taylor Wallace planned to spend a relaxing evening at home.
But as 9 p.m. approached, his phone started to ring.
"You're in the top three," screamed friend Carla Boutin, who sold Wallace a ticket to the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Reverse Raffle nearly a month earlier.
On the line was a $10,000 grand prize for the holder of the last ticket to be called that night.
Within seconds, the winning field was narrowed to just two tickets, the one Boutin was holding for Wallace and a ticket belonging to Trent Townley, also of Dawsonville.
Townley also was not present at the raffle, but friend Rory Cunningham dialed his number to let him know of his standing.
Linda Williams, chamber president, said she was pretty sure this was the first time the winner was not present to claim the grand prize.
"Nonetheless, I believe there was still some excitement at the end when we had Trent Townley and Taylor Wallace both on separate cell phones," she said.
Rushing to the front of the room, Cunningham announced Townley had offered Wallace a sure thing.
"Trent wants to split it," Cunningham told Boutin. "He'll split the winnings."
But Wallace was feeling a bit lucky that night.
"I didn't have the $5,000 going into it, so it seemed like I should just go for it," Wallace said.
In the end, Wallace held the winning ticket and is now $10,000 wealthier.
"I'd like to say I'm going scuba diving in the Cayman Islands with the winnings, but I think I'm going to pay some bills instead," he said.
The reverse raffle is the chamber's biggest fundraiser each year with proceeds supporting programs that support small business.
"As always, this year's event was a lot of work on the part of the ticket sellers. All together, we ended up selling more than 240 tickets this year," Williams said. "As usually happens, the ticket sales are extremely slow until the last two days and then people started making the decision to participate."
Last week's raffle also gave the chamber an opportunity to bid farewell to a longtime supporter whose job has transferred him outside the area.
Stephanie Mathis, chairwoman of the chamber's board of directors, presented Jay Walker with a proclamation for more than a decade of service to Dawson County.
"He humbly accepted the chamber's proclamation and our tokens of appreciation on his last night in Dawson County," Mathis said.