Bingo! Shriner's Bring Their Game Back

"B" "4" a large, for-profit Bingo parlor moved to Nacogdoches, the Shriner's had the only game in town. After 25 years in the game, the men closed the Bingo hall because they couldn't compete with the higher stakes. A year later,  the Shriner's are preparing to take a leap of faith.   "I don't remember how to turn it on," jokes Kenneth Wheless as he pulls the cover off the automatic Bingo machine. With a flip of a switch the routine comes back. The round balls with brightly colored numbers begin to tumble. Wheless easily pulls one from the dispenser and loudly calls out.

They have faith Nacogdoches residents will come for the kids. Makenzie Banks takes a ride in the Shriner van to Dallas more often than she would like. The 11 year old said,  " It used to be once a year, but now it's every four months because my scoliosis is worsening a little bit. " Makenzie is in good company with her Uncle Oran Simpson. Simpson said, " You help a lot of little kids that you don't know very much about, but when one of your own can be helped you get an extra good feeling. "

Unfortunately, it's been replaced with a lot worry about rising transportation costs. So the Shriner's are turning back to Bingo. On a good night they used to raise up to $400. Shriner C.W. Nettles talked the group into starting the game back up.  " Thirty five percent of our profits goes to transportation. " Pretty good considering the Bingo cards cost one to three dollars each.   Winners can leave with two $500 jackpots and door prizes.

Shriners aim to make it a fun family event.  " The strongest thing you'll find to drink is Coca-Cola," said one member.   The Shriner's will be calling the Bingo numbers each Tuesday of the month, beginning in February.   You can play Bhriner's bingo beginning February 5th at their hall on Christian Street. That's off of highway 21, just west of the Nacogdoches loop. Cards go on sale at six. The games start at seven.