What are the odds of someone from the Nicola Valley winning the lottery? Not very good, but that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday when Merritt’s Mitchell Shuter received a cheque for over $11 million.

“My first reaction was disbelief,” he said. “I was a little shaky when I first discovered the win. I had to count all the commas to make sure I was reading it right and seeing millions, not thousands.”

The 50-year-old matched all six of his numbers in the Feb. 6 Lotto 6/49 draw to win $11,073,738.

“I plan on taking a quick Las Vegas trip to celebrate,” the life-long Nicola Valley resident said, adding that he also plans to invest some of the winnings. “Once I’ve graduated from the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, I want to go to Italy to watch the World Masters this summer. I really like watching baseball and it occurred to me that I can just go there.”

The ticket was purchased at Courtesy Corner in Lower Nicola, but Shuter was in Vancouver when he found out he won.

“I was there for a doctor’s appointment, and I was going to buy my Lotto Max, and I checked my Lotto 6/49 from Wednesday and the whole screen lit up,” he said. “Yeah, it was pretty amazing.”

Shuter said he has been playing the lottery for more than 20 years and won about $1,000 before, but “nothing heavy duty.”

Shuter is in his second year in the associate of arts program at NVIT, which he plans to finish in April.

Chris Fairclough, communications officer for the BC Lottery Corporation, said there is a one in 14 million chance that any Lotto 6/49 draw will result in a winner from B.C.

He said this draw represents the biggest win this year. Up until Tuesday’s announcement, the largest winner received $3.5 million.

“We hand out maybe five or six this big in a year,” he said.

Fairclough said he is responsible for accommodating the winner, who brings the ticket to the Kamloops office.

“I am extremely pleased with this because it changes lives, and it is a change for a better,” he said. “[Shuter] told me he was happy to win a free pass. It’s great to see him win.”

Lotto 6/49 is a national lottery game on Wednesdays and Saturdays after 6 p.m.