Bringing in a different crowd for Bingo comes down to partying
November 08, 2016 3:01 AM
by Dave Dye
On the night before Halloween, I went to a party at Green Valley Ranch and a bingo game broke out.
At least that’s how it seemed.
Welcome to Rock Shot Bingo where it’s party first, bingo second.
Technically, it is a bingo session held in a bingo room with bingo players. The first nine games paid $100 to the winner and the 10th and final game of the night paid $1,000.
But this is not your grandmother’s bingo. Not even close.
There’s an intermission midway through that could be known as Dancing with the Crazy Bingo Players. They do the YMCA, the Macarena, the Cha-Cha Slide, and many form a conga line as they dance through the bingo room.
Even while the games are in progress, music is blaring and people are singing out loud as they hope to complete that winning combination.
“I don’t think they’re playing Tupac in a normal bingo session,” said one observer.
Not only does the person that gets bingo win, so does everyone at that person’s table. They each have a shot delivered to them by the waitress.
The bingo games are really just an excuse to party.
“That’s what brings in the younger crowd,” Chad Blochowski, the bingo agent and MC at GVR, said of the atmosphere.
“We’re really aiming for a demographic that doesn’t come to the bingo room (normally) because (they think) the bingo room is a library,” added Tom Parker, GVR’s bingo and keno manager. “We’re promoting youth and excitement and having fun. This is more about going to your local club. Having a party gets them in here.”
You can expect the unexpected on many nights, according to Parker.
“We don’t want you to sit there and stare at your machine,” he said. “We want you to be off the wall.
“Things happen that you don’t really plan for. That’s part of the experience. The experience is what brings people back.”
For $25, you get two drinks and 10 games of bingo with a chance to win that big payout at the end along with other prizes.
It’s held twice a month at Green Valley Ranch (the last Sunday and second Thursday) and once a month at Red Rock (the fourth Thursday).
Doors open at 8 p.m. The games run from 9 to 10 p.m.
Halloween certainly had people dressing up for the occasion. A couple that went as Colonel Sanders and a bucket of chicken won the contest for best costume.
Seth Pettersen, 36, dressed up as the fictional movie character Forrest Gump and finished second.
Pettersen said it was the first time he had attended Rock Shot Bingo, but he promised to be back.
“It’s an inexpensive way to play bingo, have drinks and dress like an idiot,” he said.
While the event may be geared toward the younger crowd, it actually brings out anyone looking for a good time.
Linda Holescko, 56, was dressed up as a Crayola crayon. She and her husband, Jeff, 58, are regulars at this wacky new form of bingo.
“I think they should do it way more than two times a month,” Linda said. “It’s really fun. You can go out there (pointing to the slot machines on the floor) and spend $25 in two minutes. In here, at least you get a chance to win a lot of different games.”
A crowd of 136 attended the October 30 event on a Sunday night. The Thursday sessions are typically the most crowded. Theme parties are popular, especially the pajama nights.
This is all about trying to take bingo into the future. After all, those grandmothers aren’t going to play forever.
“There is a worry as time moves on, ‘How do we keep things fresh, how do we keep things fun to entice a crowd that plays on their cell phones and wants to take selfies?’” Parker said. “This is totally for them.”
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