Congratulations 2018 Elks Rodeo Queen, Kate Compton!
Paso Robles man buys Corvette-winning raffle ticket while waiting for girlfriend’s chemotherapy in Santa Maria
When Paso Robles resident Steven Lopate stepped out of Mission Hope Cancer Center, where his girlfriend was getting chemotherapy for breast cancer, and bought two raffle tickets for a brand-new Corvette in early May, he knew immediately he had the winning ticket.
Part of Elks Rodeo Queen Kate Compton’s campaign for VTC Enterprises, the raffle for the white 2019 Corvette was held at Home Motors. For her queen campaign, Compton raised a total of around $289,000 — $100,000 of which came from the 1,000 raffle tickets sold for the Corvette at $100 each.
The money Compton — a junior at Nipomo High School — raised went to VTC Enterprises, which provides vocational training and other services to adults with developmental disabilities.
Sporting a horseshoe mustache, Lopate grinned often as he recalled buying two raffle tickets around one month earlier. At the time, he was waiting for his girlfriend, Adriana Bell, to finish her chemotherapy treatment.
“I was across the street with [Bell] and she was undergoing her final chemotherapy for breast cancer,” Lopate said. “It was intense — it was not a very comfortable place to be. I did not feel at ease.”
After about 45 minutes, Lopate said he decided to go outside. Seeing the Home Motors dealership, Lopate walked over.
“I saw a beautiful white Corvette out front — I just got a little bit of clear air, free space and just let my mind drift,” Lopate said. “So I met with the salesman, and on it, it said ‘Win this car.’
“I understood the raffle was for a really good cause,” Lopate said.
After heading back toward Mission Hope, Lopate saw his mother and fiancee and told them, “Look, I got the winning ticket.”
“’Nobody ever wins those things,’” Lopate recalled his girlfriend and mother telling him. “They were giving me a hard time.”
“I don’t know why I was so sure that I had the winning ticket — it was very peculiar,” Lopate said. “I don’t know what it was, but it just felt right. I scotch-taped them right on my kitchen counter — it was obvious where they were — and I kept saying, ‘This is the winning ticket.’”
Lopate, a car lover who said he owns a dozen vehicles, said now he just has to figure out a way to make room for his newest vehicle.
“I got lucky,” Lopate said. “I love cars, and it’s good that VTC was able to amass some money to help them. Now I just got to juggle some cars around to store the Corvette properly.”