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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment August 18, 2017

3/11/2014 1:49:00 PM
Casino night entertains in Wild West style
Locals cut-a-rug at Brand 33 during Wild West Casino Night. photo by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
Locals cut-a-rug at Brand 33 during Wild West Casino Night. photo by Jerry Baldock

By Jodi Schneider McNamee

The spirit of the Old West was alive and well for the second annual Wild West Casino Night fundraiser at Brand 33 Restaurant on Saturday evening. The event supports scholarship programs for Sisters Park & Recreation District.

Kris Harwell, financial and project coordinator, handed out "funny money," playing cards, and drink tickets as folks moseyed on in dressed in Western attire.

"This year we added the Wild West Charity Poker Tournament," Harwell said. "It's a $25 buy-in and 50 percent of the proceeds go to SPRD for youth scholarships and reserve fund, and the other 50 percent goes to the prize pool. There will be three winners and they will get to split the pot!"

Local businesses anted up as table sponsors to support Casino Night with gifts to be raffled off. Every half hour a raffle number was called out for winners to come forward and collect their prize.

R.C. West from KSJJ served as emcee for the night and played a variety of country-western music. An all-you-can-eat buffet provided by Brand 33 Restaurant served up barbecued grub throughout the night.

Participants took their pick of gaming tables and placed their bets, from black jack to roulette and craps to poker, whatever suited their style, win it or lose it all. But no worries since the funny money flowed freely for anyone who lost it all to the dealer.

Professional-type dealers from Team Casino-Casino Parties were all smiles - contrary to the poker-faced ones in Vegas - which made it right easy to sit down and try a hand.

Tournament Director Michael Tessier, the new sports events coordinator for SPRD, was in high gear getting ready for the charity poker tournament.

"It's all about the community. It's giving folks a chance to mingle with their neighbors," he said. "We're using World Series poker rules, so it's a realistic tournament. They get to play, have fun and gamble."

Harwell carried a cluster of black balloons around the gambling saloon for the Restaurant Balloon Bonanza for cowboys and cowgirls to purchase for a $20 donation each. Popping the balloon allowed the donor to claim prizes at one of the waterin' holes in Sisters Country. Restaurant gift card values varied from $10 to $50.

Liam Hughes, SPRD's executive director, tried his skill at the black jack tables.

"We've already raised $11,000 in youth scholarships so far this year," he said. "This is really great tonight; the local businesses have really come together and donated for the raffle prizes. It's really all about community effort."

Upstairs in the Western-style lodge restaurant stood two poker tables, and one was full to capacity with more than 10 cowboys bluffing, winning and losing their way through the charity poker tournament.

During a break from the tournament, poker player Rick Gillaspie headed downstairs with his wife, Sheree, to take a turn at the black jack table.

"This is awesome," he said. "I play poker with a group of guys every month; it's my fix. I am enjoying tonight because I get to support the community. That's what we're here for."

The Wild West Charity Poker Tournament winner in first place was Eric Huffman of Sisters, and Jeff Blake of Sisters took second place.

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