The usual bingo nights at Hawkeye Bingo Hall every Friday and Saturday have become a very popular activity. Over 100 people from New River and Roanoke Valley usually attend Blue Demon Bingo, which is held about 51 of 52 weeks annually. Bingo night also brings a group of dedicated volunteers with similar hopes of winning not necessarily on the games, but rather on the wrestling mats. The families of each of the Christiansburg Blue Demon Wrestling Club members volunteer their time to hand out bingo cards, serve refreshments and sell bingo instant-wins during the bingo games.
The money raised each bingo night is used to pay for the wrestlers' trips to top-ranked tournaments across the country, which in turn, help the wrestling club in Virginia become more professional. According to some of the club supporters, the club name will soon be changed to "Virginia Elite Wrestling Club". About half of the cash raised in the bingo fund-raiser will pay for the cost of facilities, equipment maintenance and trips for the club's elementary, middle and high school wrestlers.
Though the club will not reveal the exact amount of money they manage to raise from the bingo nights each year, the non-profit organization's treasurer, Brad Taylor, commented that the revenues are small, with about $250 of every $1,000 raised going to the club. The rest of the cash is sent to the bingo player pool. December 26, 2006, about 147 players came to play bingo. Most of the bingo players in the hall do not mind spending because they know the money they spend goes to worthy causes.
Mother and son, Wanda and Terry Epperly Jr. religiously come to the bingo nights every Thursday of the year and volunteer at the club by pulling out tables and chairs for the games the following day. Terry Epperly Jr. is a member of the Wrestling Club. Many of the bingo players in the club are regular players and most of the volunteers know them well. For instance, 62 year old Carl Letner from Pulaski, is known as Scrooge because he never buys any bingo instant wins. He said that he is quite content to support the Wrestling Team by playing bingo and helping to keep old people off the streets and out of the bars in the area.
Monday, January 22, 2007