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October 25, 2014

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Winner of Simpsons house announced at last

HENDERSON -- Hey Man! Don't have a Cow!

But the Kaufman and Broad Home Corp. Simpson House, the full-scale replica of "The Simpsons" Fox Broadcasting Co.'s television series cartoon home, has an owner.

Barbara Howard, a 63-year-old retired factory worker from Richmond, Ky., has won the multi-colored four-bedroom home that every 12-year-old kid in the country would die to call his digs.

Howard arrived in Las Vegas yesterday to claim her somewhat "unusual" prize. It was the first time she ever flew, and so she brought along two grown daughters and her 10-year-old grandson for moral support.

"I laughed and I cried when I found out I won," Howard said Wednesday, as she accepted a giant yellow key to her new home and answered a machine-gun volley of questions from reporters. "My blood pressure went up, and I had to go to the drug store and get a pill."

At first, Howard's husband thought a prank caller was playing a hoax on them. Luckily, she was home when the contest sponsors called back.

Howard's winning entry was selected from 15 million nationwide. She had sent in an entry form retrieved from a Brisk Ice Tea box -- a beverage she said she frequently drinks.

People were able to enter "The Simpsons House Giveway" contest, which began Aug. 1, by mailing in numbered game pieces available on packages of Pepsi's Mug Root Beer, Lipton Brisk Iced Tea, Slice and Josta.

Howard said she has entered contests since she was 16 years old. Over the years, she's won diamond rings, household items and a shopping spree at Wal-Mart.

"I've won everything but a car," Howard said with a chuckle.

Angelia and Loretta Smith, Howard's daughters, said their mother frequently gives prizes away to needy people she doesn't know. She's active in community activities, and is a strong advocate of foster children programs.

Howard said she's not sure if she'll move to Southern Nevada to live in her new home. She wants to wait until the excitement dies down a little.

"I always wanted to come here," Howard said of her anticipation to gamble.

Loretta Smith said she is eager to return home and collect a $100 bet from a friend who didn't believe her mother won the 2,200-square-foot home.

The Simpsons House, 712 Red Bark Lane, is part of Kaufman and Broad's Springfield Community South Valley Ranch. The community was named after the Simpsons cartoon character's home town.

The Simpson House is painted a vibrant yellow and baby blue -- both inside and out. Power orange, generator green, jazz age coral and pink flamingo colors adorn furniture, walls and floors inside. Even Bart's swing set and Homer's barbecue in the backyard are painted brilliantly.

If Howard's grandson, Alvin, had his way, he said he'd like to keep the house painted as it is inside.

His grandmother, however, may have different ideas about that.

"I got to get down to earth again before I know what to do," Howard said in a soft southern drawl. "I just want to gamble some now."

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