Retired Brainerd bricklayer "Chink" Chisholm promised a year's vacation for Ann Trombley, a Brainerd Amoco employee, if he wins the $200 million Powerball jackpot tonight.

Heck, he said, he'd probably buy the convenience store. Or maybe the town of Brainerd if he wins.

"If I win, I'm gonna buy Brainerd so the council doesn't have to fight over it," said Chisholm with a laugh. "And when I buy Brainerd, I'll make Bob Olson mayor."

Through Tuesday, more than 2.5 million Powerball tickets had been sold in Minnesota, where an average of about 800,000 are sold during a Powerball game.

Nationally, sales in the 21 Powerball states and the District of Columbia were estimated to reach 130 million tickets by the 9 p.m. deadline.

The odds of winning are 1 in 80 million.

Some people in the Brainerd lakes area are heading straight to the Holiday store in Baxter to buy their Powerball tickets. That's where in 1999 Farrah Slad of Brainerd purchased her $78.8 million winning Powerball ticket.

"Pretty much everyone is buying a ticket," said Pete Wallin, Holiday store manager. "Some of them ask if lightning is going to strike twice. One guy didn't buy any because of it, because we'd already given out a big winner."

Ron Householder, Pine River, stopped to buy a couple dollars' worth of tickets at the Holiday store today. His strategy is that he'll stop at various convenience stores throughout Crow Wing County today as he's out running errands, spreading out his chances of winning big money one or two dollars at a time.

When asked today what he would do with the money if he won the Powerball, Householder said, with a smile, "Well, I'd give a little to this camera guy and to you. What are you gonna do with all that money?"

Householder said if he does win, he'll probably spend more time goose-hunting and fishing.

"This was a lucky store at one time, so you don't know," he said, as he left the Holiday store, Powerball tickets in hand.

Michelle Gallagher, a Brainerd Triangle store employee, said Powerball sales have doubled in recent days, thanks to the large jackpot. She said people make a lot of promises to her when they buy their tickets.

"They say, 'I won't forget you when I win,'" said Gallagher, who has only bought one ticket herself.

Eric Bjorklund, a Brainerd Mobil employee, said one woman today bought $93 in Powerball tickets. He said a customer Tuesday bought $253 worth of tickets at a convenience store where his girlfriend works.

"I'm running out of paper. It's pretty bizarre," said Jeff Pierce, a Freedom store employee in Baxter, who for the first time in nine months bought tickets himself.

"I sure as heck wouldn't keep it all," he said, if he won the Powerball tonight. "I'd give it away. It's too much money."

A player has to match five numbers and the Powerball number to win the jackpot. The estimated cash option for the jackpot after taxes is $71.8 million. If one person wins and chooses the 25-year annuity, the winner would get $5.2 million annually after taxes.

A winner who chooses the annuity option would make $595 an hour, 24 hours a day, after taxes, said Minnesota State Lottery research director Don Feeney.

"You see a lot of people buying Powerball tickets who don't normally do it," he said. "The real interesting phenomena are the groups that buy tickets, especially office pools. It just becomes a subject of discussion. People gather around the water cooler and say, 'Boy if I won all that money, this is what I'll do with it.'"

Tom Carlson, Pillager, said he's not much of a gambler so he won't be buying any Powerball tickets today.

"I have horses so I can't afford a Powerball ticket," said Carlson with a laugh.

This story contains information provided by The Associated Press.