A Calmar man recently turned $3 into $30,000.

After Pat Nervig won a $2 prize on his "A 10 Hut" instant-scratch ticket, he used those winnings plus an extra dollar and purchased the lottery's new "Ca$h Up!" instant-scratch game.

He never dreamed he'd win the first top prize of $30,000.

"I'm like, 'There's no way,' when I was scratching it," Pat Nervig said. "I don't have that kind of luck."

Nervig, 31, scratched the ticket at The Horseshoe, 106 N. Maryville St. in Calmar and had it validated there as well. He has shared the news with family and friends.

"My mom said, 'Did you get into a car accident or something? Why are you calling me?'" Nervig said with a laugh. "I had just been there to see her."

Nervig is the owner of The Horseshoe bar in Calmar and was able to share the news with several of his patrons.

"Nobody believed it," he said. "I didn't even believe it."

Nervig claimed his prize Monday at the Iowa Lottery's regional office in Mason City.

He plans to use his winnings to pay bills.

Ca$h Up! is a $3 scratch game. If players match a number in games 1, 2 or 3 with "your numbers," they win the prize shown for that game. If they match all numbers in games 4, 5 or 6 with "your numbers," they win double the prize shown for that game. If they match all numbers in games 7, 8 or 9 with "your numbers," they win triple the prizes shown for that game. Each game is played separately. The overall odds of winning a prize in the game are 1 in 3.68.

Nine prizes of $30,000 are still up for grabs in Ca$h Up! as well as 73 prizes of $1,000 and more than 1,500 prizes of $100.

Since the lottery's start in 1985, its players have won more than $3 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.4 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.

Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state general fund and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.